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Alberta non-profits call for $30M cash injection from province to address ‘crisis’

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Alberta non-profits call for an urgent $30M cash injection from province
WATCH: Alberta non-profits joined forces to call on the province for an urgent cash injection worth $30M. As Tomasia DaSilva reports, organizations say the funds are desperately needed.

Alberta non-profits joined forces Tuesday to issue an urgent plea to the province for more funding.

The ask for an immediate, one-time top-up of $30 million comes as many charities across Alberta juggle heightened demand for services, while revenues — including donations — decrease substantially.

Karen Ball, president and CEO of Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO), was joined by leaders from Alberta’s non-profit and business community, who all spoke about the struggles.

“In all of my 30 years working in the non-profit sector in Alberta, I have never seen the stress on our essential systems in our sector to this degree before,” Ball said.

Ball added if the cash doesn’t come through, Albertans will pay the price in more ways than one, including longer wait times and less access to services.

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“In simple terms, if Alberta’s non-profits fail, more Albertans will go to bed hungry, go to sleep without a roof over their head, and be put into situations where they have increased need for our healthcare and justice system,” she said.

Read more: Calgary charity gets ready to close doors following funding denials

The Children’s Cottage Society was one of the groups in on the call for emergency funding. It provides many services, including shelter for young children who need a temporary place to stay. It houses about 1,100 of these kids a year, but has to turn away another 1,900.

CEO Danielle Ladouceur said their services have been spread thinner and they have less capacity to serve people at a time when the need has never been greater.

Ladouceur added dedicated staff have also had to do more — with less.

“It’s shameful to not provide enough money to give raises to our workers in over seven years,” she said. “It’s disrespectful to not consider the amount that they have sacrificed and given.”

The organization is building on the future with a new 20-bed facility currently under construction in Calgary, but officials told Global News that too is in need of a cash injection.

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“We need probably a good $10 million yet for our new facility,” Crisis Nursery manager Janet Hettler said.

“That facility is to have 20 beds, but we likely won’t open with 20 beds at the very beginning because there won’t be the funding there.”

Read more: Local charity hopes for new, inclusive facility for Calgarians of all abilities

Global News reached out to the province with the concerns and the call for more cash.

The minister for Seniors, Community and Social Services Jeremy Nixon replied that the province recognizes the “vital role” played by non-profits across the province.

“Our support for non-profits in the past has been extensive, but with higher costs being faced today, our government is actively working to address the concerns of all Albertans.”

Nixon’s statement went on to say the province will consider how many families rely on non-profits when making budgeting decisions for the sector.

So far, Ball said she hadn’t heard anything from the government about this latest call for urgent funding.

“We’ve received the answer consistently from the government in the past that there is no new money.”

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