Art Fisher is the executive director of the non-profit Family Service Association of Western Nova Scotia. On Tuesday he appeared in front of a virtual Standing Committee of Community Services to speak about affordable housing and COVID-19. He made some excellent points, which is why we are publishing a transcript of his introductory remarks.
COVID-19 has hit the very poor in Nova Scotia hard and left many of those living with mental health issues in a very precarious place. That was the urgent message delivered by staff members of the Nova Scotia division of the Canadian Mental Health Association to the Community Services Standing Committee.
There is a severe housing crisis in Halifax and many other Nova Scotia towns. As in most any crisis, it’s painful for everybody, but the very poor, and especially also the racialized poor, are bearing the brunt. However, when you listen to Housing Nova Scotia senior bureaucrats at yesterday’s Community Services Standing Committee you do not get a sense of urgency.
Kendall Worth wrote an open letter explaining why people who are actually on social assistance need to be heard by members of the Standing Committee on Community Services.
MLA Larry Harrison believes Nova Scotia should hire people on income assistance to pick up garbage and cut brush along the highways. Kendall Worth, who is on welfare himself, believes Larry Harrison doesn’t know welfare from a hole in the ground, and that he should resign.
In Nova Scotia people on welfare in need of extra supports for health reasons don’t count for much, poverty advocates told members of the Community Services Standing Committee.