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Laval budgets funds for seniors and kids

Laval’s 2018 budget is replete with measures to please most subsections of Laval’s demographics, in particular extends and improves existing programs to help seniors and children.

“By giving us back their confidence, the people of Laval told us that they wanted a city with a human dimension that cares for the less fortunate” said Laval Mayor Marc Demers, apparently referring to the massive Équipe Marc Demers victory in November’s elections.

Demers again announced (as was done during the campaign) a 50 percent boost in the home support program for people aged 65 and over. The amount of cash granted increases from $100 to $150 per year per unit, room or intergenerational housing occupied by at least one person aged 65 or over acting as a tenant, owner or occupant. Moreover, it increases from $200 to $300 a year when the eligible person receives the federal Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Another important policy for seniors remains the free travel on the STL network. Since May 2014, Laval residents aged 65 and over have benefitted from free public transit, a measure renewed every year since its inception, and to be offered again to seniors in Laval this year.

Finally, the somewhat controversial Fonds du Souvenir program kicks into full swing in 2018. Described as a “lever for intervention with young people aged 0 to 17 from disadvantaged backgrounds,” the fund was culled from cash repaid by former and until recently – incarcerated – mayor Gilles Vaillancourt as well as an unnamed source to create a $10 million cash envelope at the administration’s disposal.

The city decided to use the money pilfered from taxpayers to fund projects that benefit disadvantaged youth, the interest gained from the reserve steered toward a variety of projects and okayed by a council appointed by the executive committee, that includes close friends and allies of the administration, a move that raised eyebrows and questions as to propriety and partisanship.

To date the taxpayer funds has funded Centre de bénévolat and Moisson Laval to the tune of $102,898 for projects that include Opération coût de crayon offering more than 625 young people school supplies; Trousse nouveau depart, a basic nutritional and hygiene kit for infants; Collation pour les 2-4 ans will offer snack food assistance; and Vive les vacances offers a week-long stay at summer camp.

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