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.
Kendall Worth sits down for coffee with three Income Assistance clients who are terrified of their annual review, mostly because they feel their caseworker is needlessly adversarial and disrespectful. Why have an annual review when you know your disability isn’t going to go away, Kendall wonders.
A monthly budget of $56 per month for a mother and her kids on social assistance, how can that be? Jodi Brown does the math.
It is terribly important that we support the few people in Nova Scotia who are on welfare and/or live in public housing who speak out publicly about the conditions they face, not only for what they have to tell us, but also for the simple act of saying it. They are examples and inspirations, what they do is crucial. Jodi Brown is one of these people, and this Weekend’s Video is about her unexpected encounter with both welfare and public housing. One day you have a job, then you get sick, next thing you have $56 grocery money for an entire month.
New contributor Lucy MacDonald knows all about homelessness and living in shelters. Community Services is actually fostering homelessness rather than solving it with is impractical rules and inadequate shelter allowances, she says.
This weekend video actually started as a story published in the Nova Scotia Advocate, written by a mother who wanted to tell how being on welfare affected her and her children, the stigma she faced, and how it can happen to anyone.
Today is frequent contributor Kendall Worth’ birthday, which leads him to reflect on birthday celebrations of poor people. He asked, and this is what he heard. “Kendall as much as we would love to celebrate our birthdays the same way ordinary people do, we can’t. Life is just not normal for us because of our income level we live on.”
Earlier Kendall Worth wrote about how even a short hospitalization and surgery can throw a poor person’s live into a stressful chaos. Who’s going to drive you home if you have nobody? How are you going to get to the Food Bank if you need to stay in bed for weeks? How are you going to keep your apartment clean and tidy? And what about the social isolation? Well, turns out that in this case at least lots of people are willing to step up to the plate.
Frequent contributor Kendall Worth relates the story of a young man who desperately needs support from Community Services, but can’t get it for a bunch of seemingly bureaucratic reasons.