KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – So I thought I would make this year’s Valentine’s Day story about social inclusion. Here are two questions for you:
#1 – Wouldn’t it be great for everyone, no matter who you are and no matter where money is coming from and no matter how much money you have, just to come home to your apartment at night after being at work or doing whatever, to have someone to talk to when you get home?
#2 – Wouldn’t it be great for people, no matter who they are and no matter what their financial situation, to have support other than professionals they go to for counselling?
90% of financially better off people are married or in a relationship, and many have children. But that’s not the case for many people on income assistance, and most income assistance recipients would answer yes to both questions.
What I trying to get at here is that Valentine’s Day is all about love and having support in life. Many income assistance recipients have no one to talk to.
Those who have spouses and partners as their number one support live healthier lives.
But Community Services makes it difficult for us social assistance recipients to be in romantic relationships, or to live together just as friends and room mates, for that matter.
I have written about the department’s cohabitation policies often, for instance Love works miracles, but your relationship is none of Community Services business.
We need to see a system of receiving income assistance where whether or not you are married or living in common law relationships is none of their caseworkers’ business.
The unanswered question remains, is Community Services looking into this?
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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