KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Being on welfare and losing your apartment is hard enough. What nobody needs is to get stigmatized for it on top of it all!
This is what is happening to a single mom I wrote about earlier here: Rent increase pushes single mom out of the neighborhood, with a bit of an update here.
What happened is that her family found out she was on welfare because one day she crossed paths at the grocery store with a friend of her family and that family friend decided not to mind her own business.
She was so frustrated at the time with apartment hunting and everything else going on in her life that she just had to talk about what was going on to that family friend, not thinking it was a bad idea.
The conversation got unpleasant the minute her family friend raised her voice and started asking questions which were none of her business.
This family friend asked about the father of her kids, and upon telling her that this is none of her business, the family friend raised her voice and said “Yes it is my business, because if you really have disabilities and you really have no choice but to be receiving welfare then you should not even be looking after kids in the first place”
What happened next was that her family contacted her on Facebook as well as calling her on the phone.
They accused her of not wanting to work. Some of her family threatened to report her to child protection services!
And then one day something really unpleasant happened.
First she got a phone call from an uncle that made her feel very uncomfortable.
“So how much of your welfare check goes into the liquor store cash register? How much of your welfare check goes into the gambling machines,” he asked.
When she tried to explain that she is not spending her money on that type of stuff, he had no interest in listening to her, and he accused her of lying when she was not lying.
Things did not stop there.
One day her mom, dad ,and other family members showed up at her apartment for an unannounced visit, while the kids were in school.
Her family accused her of not setting a good example for her kids because she is not holding down employment and in their eyes not doing anything to better herself.
Her family is even advocating to have her kids taken away from her to have them put in foster care!
So as we can all see, she is getting stigmatized by her own family. Her family does not know the meaning of invisible disabilities from a hole in the ground.
Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.
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