featured Poverty

Kendall Worth: Struggling through the lockdown

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Readers of the Nova Scotia Advocate may remember stories I did in the past about William, a man who lives a life of poverty and lives with bipolar disorder. This story here, Being poor and stressed during the coronavirus is the most recent one. 

I am writing today’s story because some of my readers got so touched by William’s story that they requested this follow-up talking about how William made out during COVID-19.

These are some of the questions they had:

  1. Were William or his sister able to make some sort of arrangement to get his meds refilled and delivered to him during COVID-19? And was he able to get groceries and other essential items during his COVID-19 self-isolation?
  2. Did William end up back in Abby Lane during Covid-19?
  3. What about his emotional wellbeing this time, was he actually able to keep in touch with the friends he made through his program, and did he use the mobile crisis line, for example?
  4. Then the most recent question I got asked was “now that things are opening back up is William’s sister making regular drives into town to check up on him and any word on when William returns to his employment readiness program?

All of the above questions were by my readers out of concern for William.

As the writer I can understand why people had those concerns. After all, during COVID-19 William had a lot of anxiety about even leaving his apartment.

So a couple of days ago William’s sister, William, and myself all met and sat down for coffee.

Turns out William ended up doing better than he thought he would during COVID-19 self-isolation. William never had to get admitted to the Abby Lane. William said it felt great that he was able to go through the entire time of self-isolation without getting admitted. 

As for medication refills and groceries, William’s sister was able to make an arrangement by getting in touch with a friend of hers who lives here in the city. Her friend has a car and is financially better off. 

William’s sister did tell me that she was a bit worried about her making that arrangement because she did not want to tell her friend that William was on welfare. She was worried that her friend would be a believer in the welfare stigma that I talked about in this article here, Ignorant ideas about welfare I hear a lot and then again in this article here, More ignorant ideas about welfare that people actually believe

However, she knew that William was going to need to somehow make at least one friend who owns and operates a vehicle. After all, even though there was a professional from mental health services calling around to make sure their clients were ok, that professional could not do things for William or any of their clients like getting groceries or medications because of their professional boundaries. This story I did with Alex Stratford, My chat with Alec Stratford of the NS College of Social Workers, sheds light on what I am talking about here. 

William was keeping in touch with his friends from the program, but none of them drive or live within walking distance from William. Therefore they were not able to help William either.

William is looking forward to going back to his program, but is still waiting to hear when that will happen.

The friend of William’s sister agreed to volunteer to help him out with essential needs.

It is such a great feeling that things ended up working out for William during the days of COVID-19 self-isolation. 

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!