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.”

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.

Kendall Worth returns to the topic of paid poverty advocacy work, and how to make it a win win for everybody. It can be done. Business plan attached!

Our series “Lives on welfare” continues. Meet Bernice. She cut her power bill, only to see Community Services deduct the savings from her monthly cheque. “What do you do? I am just exhausted, from arguing. I am taking my frustration out on my worker, but she has no control, so she takes the crappy end of it. But if you are so frustrated she is the one you vent too, and I keep apologizing to her, I am sorry, I know it’s not your fault.”

Watch this wonderful documentary by Nova Scotia’s Nance Ackerman, about the exceptional eight-year old Isaiah and his equally remarkable family as they live in poverty in the Annapolis Valley.

Our series ‘Lives on Welfare’ continues. Here Joe, one the most gentle and soft spoken people I know, talks about becoming the target of a verbal attack by a Community Services employee. Being treated disrespectfully by Community Services staff and feeling powerless as a result is another common theme in the stories people on welfare tell.