Meet Joanne (not her real name). Joanne lives in a mid-sized town somewhere in rural Nova Scotia with her three kids, two boys and one girl. Her teenage son has intellectual disabilities and requires special care. Several years ago she fled an abusive relationship and she has not yet been able to resume a public live, something most of us take for granted. She is on Income Assistance. “I am poor,” she says, “but I budget well.”

“To have a roof over your head and to not go hungry are fundamental human rights,” NDP leader Gary Burrill told the Nova Scotia Advocate to explain the party’s proposed amendments to the Human Rights Act. Lawyer Claire McNeil tells us why this would be a very significant change, and one that is long overdue.

ACORN Nova Scotia asked municipal candidates in North End Halifax, Dartmouth East, Dartmouth Centre and Spryfield where they stand on issues that matter to people who live in poverty. Things like affordable housing, slum landlords, and pay day loan sharks. Here are their responses.

Kendall Worth on the hard work that being on social assistance entails, and how you gain an assortment of valuable experiences that you should be able to list on your resume. We’re talking about skills like economical shopping, policy research and building community. And you have to be a real mathematical genius to make ends meet.

Kendall Worth returns to the topic of paid poverty advocacy work, and how to make it a win win for everybody. It can be done. Business plan attached!

This week’s featured video is Cottonland, a 2006 documentary about recovering addict Eddie Buchanan and the damage the prescription painkiller oxycontin is doing to his friends and neighbors in Glace Bay, Cape Breton. It’s also about the shutting down of the coal mines. And it’s about a bunch of exceptional people, loving parents, funny, with big hearts. They’re also thieves who do or did terrible things.