“The best path out of poverty is a job,” Community Services (DCS) deputy minister Lynn Hartwell told a CBC reporter a couple of weeks ago. Sure, responds community legal worker Fiona Traynor. But it’s a stigmatizing thing to say when 60 to 70% of people on assistance are unable to work because of disabilities.
We interview food security expert Dr. Valerie Tarasuk, who will be visiting Nova Scotia later this week. She talks about hunger counts that don’t count hunger, food banks that don’t solve food insecurity, and income thresholds that don’t reflect it. Also, why people who are food insecure get sick so much, even if the illness has nothing to do with diet. And finally, what we should do to fix the problem.
A coalition of anti poverty activists and community groups wants premier Stephen McNeil to understand that current income assistance rates are really inadequate. And they need your help in order to get that message across.
Earlier today we posted a letter to premier Stephen McNeil written by a new coalition of poverty organizations and advocates who want a substantial increase in income assistance rates and real input in the Employment Support and Income Assistance transformation that is mostly happening in secret and without real community input. That letter was a bit long, this press release is the Coles notes version.
Last December a coalition of more than 25 anti-poverty organizations and advocates released A Call to Action: Community Agenda for Social Assistance Adequacy and Reform. Not satisfied with the response by a civil servant, the coalition once again makes its case, asking for a a substantial increase in Income Assistance rates, meaningful consultation, and a meeting with the premier. Meanwhile, there are way more signatories now.
The Community Agenda for Social Assistance Adequacy and Reform was developed by a network of first voice, social justice workers and allies who have demanded an overhaul of the social assistance program here in NS. The group wants the rates raised immediately and it lists a nine-point blueprint to reform the system. They’ve given the government until Jan. 15 to respond, but the initiative needs as many voices and supporters for this action. If you are interested in learning more and becoming an ally to this progressive change please contact the people listed at the bottom of the document.
A letter by the coordinator of Women’s Centers Connect expressing support for a broad coalition of community groups who want Community Services to increase income assistance benefits and engage in meaningful consultation.Community Services Connect is an association of the nine community-based women’s centres in Nova Scotia.