Info on Basic Needs Fund and Emergency Financial Assistance

The Basic Needs Fund and Emergency Financial Assistance

Are you struggling to meet household expenses? The Basic Needs Fund may offer help.

Basic needs are defined as food and water, shelter and clothing and can slo include sanitation, education, healthcare and internet. If you have an urgent financial need, such as assistance with a bill payment or rent, the Basic Needs Fund or Emergency Financial Assistance might be able to help.

The Basic Needs Fund (Through 211 and the Distress Centre Calgary)

The Basic Needs Fund offers emergency support to individuals and families in financial crisis with a one-time grant to remedy an immediate need. Assistance through this program is meant to help individuals and families dealing with an emergency such as a sudden job loss or unexpected illness. This support can help individuals experiencing financial stress avoid having their situation get even worse.

The Basic Needs Fund is administered by the Distress Centre. Last year, $136,091 was distributed to 86 families and 79 individuals in financial need. This was a 53 per cent increase over the prior year. This increase can be attributed to the support of funders, as well as a new collaboration between the Basic Needs Fund and 211. To ask about getting help through the Basic Needs fund call 2-1-1.

Emergency Financial Assistance (Through the Government of Alberta)

If you are facing an unexpected emergency, you can also apply for emergency financial assistance through the Government of Alberta.

This program may offer assistance when a situation that presents a severe health risk is caused by unforeseeable circumstances beyond your control and you cannot access other resources or wait until your next paycheque or Income Support benefit cheque.

This allowance can cover costs for food, clothing, child care, transportation, damage deposit, temporary accommodation, utility arrears, and eviction payments. If you need help with utility arrears or eviction payments more than once, you will have to repay any support money you receive.

To get information about this program, call the toll-free 24-hour Emergency Income Support Contact Centre at 1-866-644-5135. Learn more at

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