KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – My name is Kendall Worth, and as you both probably already know, I am a journalist and a regular contributor to the Nova Scotia Advocate.
My journalism is all about advocating for a wide range of Nova Scotians who experience living in poverty in some way, shape or form. I find people here in Nova Scotia live in poverty not by choice, but because of things like:
- Experiencing barriers to employment because of invisible and visible disabilities
- Living with mental health and addiction issues
- Income assistance in Nova Scotia not providing enough money for clients who have no choice in life but to depend on that system
Ms. MacFarlane, it is the hope of my community that you will be a better minister for people who have first hand experience in dealing with the Employment Support and Income Assistance program offered through your department. We hope that you will be a better listener than the two previous ministers we dealt with when the Liberals were in power.
Mr. Houston, I have heard you speak about the need to improve mental health in this province. It is important for you to consider how increasing the income assistance rates could play an important role in countering the anxiety that income assistance recipients have to live with because they cannot make ends meet.
As well, you should consider creating social programs that mental health professionals can refer people to. An example of what I am talking about is here: Kendall Worth on friendship, poverty, and feeling discouraged. During an interview I did about a year ago PC MLA Steve Craig agreed with me on this.
I will end this letter by saying that I hope you will have a change of heart on rent control, that you will increase the income assistance rates to an amount people can actually live on, and improve the overall health system as you promised in your platform.
Sincerely, Kendall Worth
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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