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.”

Last week we reported that Mainline Needle Exchange in Halifax is facing a budget crunch, this week the news is that its Cape Breton counterpart may well close its doors early next year because the federal government is no longer funding the organization. Time for the province to step up to the plate.

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.

Mainline Needle Exchange, an organization that helps people who live with drug addictions in mainland Nova Scotia, can’t keep up with the demand, something the provincial government is trying hard to ignore. Lives are at stake. The Nova Scotia Advocate went to Mainline’s open house to find out more.

A 65-year old New Glasgow woman who suffers from severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivities has been ordered to vacate the only house where she can live in relative safety. She has been unable to find an alternative that doesn’t put her health at risk, and desperately wants the Housing Authority to abandon its eviction notice.