Kahkewistahaw IA Program - COVID 19 Response

Kahkewistahaw FN

SFNFCI is connecting with those we work with to hear about the kind of work being done in our First Nation communities during COVID-19.  Our intention is to share the stories in a series of blogs on the SFNFCI website.  

On May 7, 2020 I spoke with Vera Wasacase, the Income Assistance Administrator for Kahkewistahaw First Nation (KFN) to gain knowledge on how COVID-19 has impacted her home community and the on-reserve Income Assistance Program.

Due to the pandemic, KFN implemented strategies to help keep their community safe. This included having staff work from home, setting curfew monitored by the Band’s Certified Peacekeeper Program.

Vera is no longer able to see clients face to face for case management but is well equipped with the IA Program at home to keep client records updated. Updates include housing lists and applications.

IA cheques are delivered to each client by the Peacekeepers to ensure social distancing. Vera has also been looking into other technologies such as a “reloadable debit card” for IA clients to eliminate the cheque delivery process. Each client will be given a reloadable debit card that she will top up every day IA cheque day.

The IA program covers costs of utility for its clients. Because of Social Distancing and the emergency response, not being able to see clients face to face on a regular basis, some clients are finding it difficult to submit their utility bills in a timely manner. This often creates late fess that are not covered under the IA policy. In response to this issue, Vera’s assistant Kylie had IA clients sign up for SaskPower and SaskEnergy online accounts. This allows clients to electronically submit their utility bills for payments on time.

Community and program updates are posted to their First Nations webpage and social media accounts. Information and updates are always flowing, it is important people are receiving the correct and updated information. In response to the State of Emergency each member was given an Emergency incentive to purchase additional food and cleaning supplies.

Inter-agency communication has been greatly improved and is wonderful to see all program working together to support clients and members of KFN.

Thanks to Vera Wasacase for talking with me and sharing all your great work.

Lacey Kaysaywaysemat
SFNFCI Program Coordinator

If you are interested in sharing stories from your organization/community please feel free to contact:
Lacey Kaysaywaysemat, Program Coordinator at 306-526-2566 or lacey@sfnfci.ca

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