Thursday, 22 February 2018

Meet Sophia (not her real name), who lives with a painful illness, raises a son who lives with developmental disabilities, and does all that on a $156 monthly personal allowance, after rent and power bills are paid, and an arrears to Community Services is dealt with. Please let that sink in. $156 per month.  At the bottom of the story we tell you what you can do to help change this.

“For many years I held full time employed positions, mainly minimum wage, and have paid my taxes dutifully to this government. Then something happened in my life that rendered me and my 16 year old daughter homeless. As a last resort I took myself and my daughter to seek refuge at a homeless shelter. My daughter was accepted without a problem, but I was not accepted as I was employed full time.” Lucy MacDonald shares a letter she sent to premier Stephen McNeil about being homeless, and about trying to make ends meet while on Income Assistance.

Frequent contributor and anti-poverty activist Kendall Worth reports on the case of a woman who gets harassed by a neighbour in her apartment building and neither her landlord nor the police are willing to put a stop to it. Because she is on welfare she can’t just pack up her stuff and move. She may well end up homeless as a result, she says.

As a bit of a follow-up on last winter’s very successful Women’s March on Washington here in Halifax about three hundred women and allies gathered at Province House today at noon to remind the world they’re still here. We hope to do a bit more on today’s rally, but for now, here are a couple of photos, and El Jones’ contribution, on Nova Scotia’s women who live in poverty, published with her kind permission.

New contributor Fara Spence profiles Ruby, an older woman living with severe arthritis and unable to work she had to turn to Community Services after her husband left her. ““Looking back, I was naive. I always thought Community Services would be…I don’t know, happy to help.”

Kendall Worth with a short and sad story about a woman living with developmental disabilities and mental health issues who lost her job and is dreading the day she will have to apply for social assistance.

Kendall Worth follows up on his earlier stories about a woman who had to go in for day surgery but who had nobody to stay with her during the first two weeks of her eight-week recovery, even though the hospital insisted that this be the case. Turns out she has been getting nightly check-up visits from the police. No matter how well intended, she isn’t happy about it, especially since the visits were arranged by the hospital without her permission.

Our roving reporter Kendall Worth was walking down Spring Garden when some people who knew of his poverty activism and writing asked if he would tell their story. Here it is. No money for groceries, but many mental health and health problems, and lots of people looking down on them as if it is all their fault somehow.

Video reporter Jodi Brown visits the mother of a terminally ill six-year old son, who was kicked of social assistance and told to repay over $30,000 in payments Community Services claims she should not have received. The mother is denying the allegations and fighting her case in court. Meanwhile the family can’t make ends meet and is facing eviction.