KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Last Friday I was contacted by a woman, let’s call her Darcy, asking for help or advice. Darcy is on welfare, that’s why she doesn’t want me to use her real name.
Darcy receives the standard household rate of $850, plus another $81 for her special diet allowance and $35 for the special needs telephone allowance. Her rent is $650 and in a couple of months will increase to $750 a month. She cannot hold down a job because of her disabilities of obsessive compulsive disorder, manic depression, and anxiety. Further to all this she also has a brain injury.
On Thursday night Darcy had a fall in her bathtub. She rested in bed for a few hours and when she found that the feeling of hurt in her toes and upper body was not going away she called 811.
811 said that she may have a bone fracture and told her to go to the hospital. They also told her to take somebody with her.
In several of my stories I have talked about how welfare recipients sometimes have problems with organizing to bring someone with them to the hospital when they have to go there for day surgery.
It’s safe to say that 80% of welfare recipients cannot make those arrangements because their only social contacts/friends are people they know through standing in line at the food bank and going to the soup kitchens.
The question is: What is a welfare recipient whose only social contacts are people they know from soup kitchens and food banks supposed to do when at very short notice they need someone to come with them to the emergency room?
When I asked her if she has any family members who could accompany her to the hospital, she told me that her remaining immediate family are living in New Brunswick, and she has a third cousin who lives somewhere in Digby County.
“Kendall, even if I was to contact them, and tell them I need them to come to Halifax at short notice to come with me when I go to the hospital, most likely it will not happen,” she said.
“My family will tell me to get support from people I have here in Halifax but yet Kendall,” she said, “they do not know my life here in Halifax from a hole in the ground”
Anyway, for me this weekend ended up being busy because I ended up having to help her find a solution to her problem.
Luckily I remembered Jenny and her friends. Here is the last story I did on them “Kendall Worth: Huge rent increases leave three tenants scrambling for shelter.
On Saturday I contacted them and told them about the situation. They right away took a bit of time to talk and get to know Darcy a bit and they once again agreed that one of them will show up at the hospital to accompany Darcy home if needed.
So good news in the end!
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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