Tallinn to offer additional benefits for residents in financial trouble ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

The City of Tallinn has developed additional social support measures for its residents who have either been left unemployed or are in financial difficulties due to the economic downturn caused by the emergency situation.

According to Tallinn Deputy Mayor Betina Beškina, the COVID-19 caused emergency situation has affected the financial security and well-being of many families in Tallinn. "Many Tallinners lost their stable income already during the emergency situation. We do not yet have an overview of the full impact of the coronavirus crisis on the national economy, but taking into account the forecasts, we are preparing for the fact that people's livelihood may significantly deteriorate and the need for assistance may increase," explained Beškina.

"That is why we have put together a package of additional support measures meant for the residents and families of Tallinn in financial difficulties. One of the measures is the substitution of school food packages with food assistance for families in financial difficulties for the summer.

"The additional food packages are given to families with children where the net income for the first member of the family is below the current national minimum wage rate (€584), and 80% of the same rate for each additional member of the family. To get the package, one should turn to the social welfare department of the City District where the family is registered in. The city's food package is meant as an addition to the packages given by the Food Bank. The packages are distributed by the City Districts', one package is given per child weekly. The packages are distributed from July 1 - August 31.

In addition, we offer rent support for the families and the residents of the city who have lost their home, or are about to lose it – we hope to help them back to the rental market with an aim to give the people and the families back their normal lives as much as possible."

The City will assist families who have lost their homes with temporary housing. The recipients of the support may be families with children, unemployed or victims of domestic violence who have nowhere to live. The applicants must meet special criteria of receiving social housing services.

In order to provide efficient and timely temporary accommodation, the city intends to conclude a framework contract with a few accommodation establishments, which are ready to welcome a person or a family if necessary. The form of the housing is short-term accommodation until a suitable rental apartment or another alternative solution is found, such as the provision of social housing. The measure will be initially implemented from September 1 until the end of 2020.

The third measure consists of supporting Talliners and especially families, who are not in need of temporary housing. The first rental payment and if necessary, the commission will be covered by the city, and the rent of the following months by the resources of the subsistence benefit. Again, the applicants of the support must meet the criteria of being eligible for the social housing, this means that they can not own property and their income has to show insufficient means for covering housing expenses. The measure will be implemented from September 1 until the end of the year.

Tallinn to exempt families in financial distress and with HEV children from paying kindergarten fees

Starting September 1, families with low income and families with children in special education groups (HEV) do not have to pay fees for their kindergarten places.

The fee exemption affects families whose net income per first family member is less than the current minimum wage.

Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) explained the formula behind applying for exemption. "For example, family with two parents and one child, their income can maximally be up to €1,500. /.../ In families with three children, income can be a maximum of €2,400. The formula gives the chance to support families, where the income may be larger but also have more kids and expenses. It does not depend on the amount of kids or parents, but instead income."

Deputy Mayor Vadim Belobrovtsev (Center) said that making the decision of who to exempt from fees is made from the director of the kindergarten to the social department of the relative district government.

Additionally, parents of kids in special education are also exempt from kindergarten place fees, but only to the extent of municipal kindergartens.

Belobrovtsev said that 1,500 children are affected by the exemption starting from September and it will cost the city €1.2 million. There are 700 HEV children in kindergartens in Tallinn.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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