KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – You readers may have read this recent story, Depressing times! How some people on social assistance are living through COVID-19.
Since this story got posted I had the opportunity to get in contact with two more people I have written about in the past, and they gave me permission to talk about how they are making out with COVID-19 public health warnings and social distancing.
But first first I want to explain why I feel it is important to keep my readers updated on how people on income assistance are doing during COVID-19. In general, the people I advocate for live a life of poverty, loneliness, and social isolation, for reasons that are not their fault.
It’s safe to say that some 80%/ or even 90% of those I advocate for do not have good relationships with friends and family, or don’t have any.
Many do not even have social contacts in the community to talk to except the people at the soup kitchens and various drop-ins that people living in poverty attend.
Things like only having a standard household rate of as little as $508 per month to $850 for people who live with disabilities, plus, if you are lucky, a bit extra for special needs, and facing the welfare stigma add fuel to the fire of the general feelings of misery I am describing here.
Maria is the first out of two people who I have been in contact with. I wrote about her here: Lives on welfare – Maria (not her real name).
You may remember her story about how she had to make the transition from once being financially better off to being a welfare recipient. This was not an easy transition.
Maria was happy that I contacted her and to hear from me. She told me that not even her ex boyfriend contacted her to find out how she is doing, nor her family. She told me that under the circumstances they should have made an exception, but she hardly ever hears from them anyway.
Anyway, she did agree with me that these are depressing times. She told me she is hanging in there and going for long walks on days the weather is cooperating, and finding stuff to keep her busy at home.
She is however looking forward to life getting back to normal. What was sad to hear is that just before COVID-19 started, something was in the work where things were going to get better for her, then the public health warnings got in the way.
Also just this week, I was talking to Darlene, who is one out of two people in this story: Lives on welfare – hopes and dreams. The other person is her friend Daryl. (not their real names).
She and Dayrl are both keeping in contact by phone during COVID-19 and they are looking forward to life getting back to normal.
She did bring to my attention that Daryl is having issues with his neighbours harassing him while he is self isolating. This means that his neighbours are not obeying the public health warnings.
She told me that she was able to find a way to access WIFI in her apartment while COVID-19 is happening. She has been keeping busy with activities at home. On days when the weather is cooperating she has been making her way down to Souls Harbor for the take out meal they are offering.
She said that she and Daryl are talking about moving in and living together after things are back to normal.
Let’s hope all these abnormal days are over soon!
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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