Tuesday, 20 March 2018

“I felt the strong need to write this post because of my frustration with this unresponsiveness from my worker, and I wondered how many other people on Income Assistance experience the same thing.” An income assistance recipient writes on calling over and over and about the stress of never getting that much awaited call back.

Kendall Worth about the people on income assistance he encounters here in in Halifax who worry about free bus passes becoming available this spring. “Don’t’ get me wrong. I do agree that there is a strong need for all income assistance recipients, and anyone living in poverty for that matter, to have access to free bus passes. I know quite a few people who are excited about the free bus passes becoming available. But for some it will mean $78 less each month for rent or groceries,” he writes.

Frequent contributor Tim Blades on living in poverty, his struggle with illness and mental health issues, and the urgent need to be compassionate and open with one another. “Now I want to delete that last paragraph. My heart is racing just from typing that last paragraph. While I want to be safe and delete that last paragraph, If I let go of that secret, it’s just one less thing for me to hold onto.”

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.

Poverty activist and frequent contributor Brenda Thompson writes about adults only buildings and the law. She was one of the activists who, in the early 1980s, brought about changes that make discrimination based on source of income (welfare) and age (whether you have children) illegal. Landlords openly break that law all the time, and the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission just sits back.

“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.

We featured Brent and Donna, the Sheet Harbour couple on income assistance, in an earlier story about the terrible state of disrepair of their public housing unit. Community Services used to pay their entire power bill, but last week they contacted me because all of a sudden they are saddled with a $60 monthly share. They don’t know why, and they don’t know how they are going to deal with it.