KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – You readers of the Nova Scotia Advocate may remember Daryl and Darlene. Here is the last story I wrote about them: Roommates! Great news for two friends on income assistance.
Daryl and Darlene were going through some mental health issues and living on income assistance when I first met them. As you can tell from the story I just linked, they are now roommates and Darlene is working a full time job.
See also: Kendall Worth: A small Easter miracle
Daryl wants to get a job as well, after he first gets some therapy for his mental health issues. He feels he needs time to recover mentally from his days of living in Dartmouth, with everything he went through there.
Anyway, around the end of September I got invited to their new place. They are now living in a small house where they are paying $1000 a month in rent, plus heat, hot water and power. It’s out by the Sunnyside Mall in Bedford.
Daryl pays a total of $600 for his share of the rent and utilities. That way he has $250 to come and go on, plus food. That is what he and Darlene worked out.
Darlene told me how much she misses living out by Chocolate Lake, however she loves her new neighbourhood just as much. She also loves her new job. Daryl is simply happy to be out of his old Dartmouth North apartment.
Daryl says his surroundings are a lot nicer here. He can go out for walks and enjoy himself without running into people who are going to bother him. It is such a relief for him that no neighbours knock on his door asking for cigarettes or to use his phone.
Daryl brought to my attention that not all Community Services offices are the same.
After moving his case got transferred from the Dartmouth office to the Sackville office. In the Sackville office, getting a referral from his caseworker to an employment support worker was no problem. In the Dartmouth office there was a lot of red tape.
“In Dartmouth, when I told them I was interested in the Career Seek program, they booked me in to write a test and then told me that because of my low score they could do nothing to help me,” Daryl told me. “
“I asked them, how about an employment support worker helping me out with a backup plan for moving forward. They said there was nothing more they could do to help me.”
“Now that my case is in the Sackville office, I got a referral no problem. So far I have had two appointments and a third one coming up. They are behaving like they actually want to help me and I call that better service in the Sackville office,” Daryl told me.
Daryl’s main goal is to either have a job or be back in school by September 2021.
Even though Daryl and Darlene enjoy each other’s company, they wish there was a way they could make a few new friends. They actually live within walking distance from another person I have written about in the Nova Scotia Advocate: The long hard road of Career Seek for people on social assistance.
I made arrangements to introduce them, and they have spent time together since and have become friends. Darlene and Daryl and the young woman have a lot in common. The three of them even spent Thanksgiving together.
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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