KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Christmas is supposed to be an exciting time of year for people to look forward to. This is the time of year to spend time with family and friends who you may not get to see otherwise.
As I pointed out in past stories about different holidays, and also in some other stories about loneliness, holidays often are the time when the bomb of social isolation hits.
Many people living in poverty believe that soup kitchens are not open on holidays. However, over these past few months I have seen evidence that at least in Halifax these people are wrong.
The above image shows where meals are happening this year, a bit of good news for people who are otherwise going to be alone on Christmas day.
Of course these places do not replace spending time with family and long time friends.
You readers of the Nova Scotia Advocate may remember last year at this time I wrote an open letter to Santa.
Let’s have a look at what was achieved from me writing last year to Santa, and what was not achieved:
Well, it is safe to say that the Benefits Reform Action group never had their requested meeting with the Minister of Community Services or the Premier. Even though on December 27th, 2019 some income assistance recipients will be seeing t $40 increase on their checks, they are getting nothing better then that.
Overall, people on income assistance will continue to live with the struggles they have always faced.
This year, the people who gave me the idea for this letter to be written last year, told me they have two new wishes they want added to the Christmas list for this year.
#1 – For Santa to guide the government to create more affordable housing where people are paying 30% or more of their income in rent.
#2 – To consider a social inclusion tax credit. This way income assistance recipients can have a few dollars to spend on healthy social activities like passes for fitness centres for example. Also for the Department of Community Services to listen to first voices on what social inclusion is about.
Let’s all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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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