KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) Today’s story is about a single mom. Her rent is $750 a month for her two bedroom apartment plus lights. She uses her living room as her own bedroom so the kids can each have their own rooms.
She lives with OCD, also known as impulse control disorder. This is one area where I can relate to her case, as I live with that disability myself.
When you live with OCD you often can only handle part-time work, because of the stress that is involved with holding down a full time job. She did work a full time job in the past but had to quit because she found she could not handle the stress very well while at work. From my own experiences with OCD I was not surprised. Anyway, she told me gets a total of $895 a month on her income assistance cheque.
I wrote about her before. She was person A in Three stories about annual reviews and a disrespectful caseworker.
Recently the news she got from her landlord is her rent will be $1000 a month starting in January 2020. She has to tell her landlord by October 1st 2019 her decision as to whether or not she is going to pay the higher rent starting in January, or if she decides to move instead.
She is worried about having to move out of that nice Clayton Park neighbourhood and move to a another neighbourhood in order to afford rent. She was telling me about her oldest who is now a teenager and moving to a new neighbourhood and starting a new school is going to be hard on him. He will have to make all new friends.
As mentioned before, she gets a total of $895 a month from income assistance and even though she receives $500.00 per month child support, $1000 a month in rent is just too much, especially where that would mean more money for other bills and food will have to come out of her child support money.
She is also worried about ending up having to move to rural Nova Scotia in order to afford rent. She does not want to make that move because in rural Nova Scotia there will be no bus service and her kids will be further away from their friends. Her son will not be not be able to play sports. Her dream is for both of her kids to continue to have a normal upbringing.
I personally know how hard it is to find an affordable place to live in a decent neighbourhood. I spent three years apartment hunting to achieve moving from my old Dartmouth North address to now living in Halifax. At some of the places I was looking at rents were starting at $750 with power not included for a bachelor apartment to $910 for one bedroom apartments. I also learned that when you look in South End Halifax for example, when you live in poverty you are looking in the wrong part of town.
Anyway, let’s hope for the best. It’s all we can do.
Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.
With a special thanks to our generous donors who make publication of the Nova Scotia Advocate possible.
Subscribe to the Nova Scotia Advocate weekly digest and never miss an article again. It’s free!