EDMONTON -- The Alberta government says it is working hard to get support to vulnerable Albertans during the pandemic.

“Our government is committed to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting vulnerable Albertans. Those who rely on social services need our support more than ever before and we will continue working closely with community partners to address the needs of all who are at risk and help them get through this challenging time,” said Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Community and Social Services in a news release.

A reference guide for people with disabilities has been developed to provide information on how to stay safe during the pandemic. The guide is available online.

Alberta Supports contact centres are still open, and services are available by phone and online. Monthly benefits like AISH are also still being provided during the pandemic. The provincial government said it will also exempt a portion of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit as income for AISH and Income Support residents.

The province has also provided financial support to help open 14 new shelter facilities for the homeless to meet physical distancing requirements. Efforts are also being made to get people out of the shelter system. The province says more than 400 people have been moved into housing since the start of the pandemic.

The province is also beginning testing of asymptomatic people in homeless shelters.

Women’s shelters have adjusted programming to comply with physical distancing requirements, and additional staff has been hired so shelters can respond to increased crisis calls.

The province has also provided $5 million to food banks and other charities to help residents struggling with food scarcity during the pandemic.

The government has also provided $30 million for funding for charities, non-profits, and civil society organizations across the province. Applications from organizations were accepted for the funding until April 21.