Welfare Rates are Tough all Over: By Phoenix Winter

pg2_welfare_rates_christys-banner_greyAt a meeting in early May, some MLAs from the NDP told a group of Vancouver activists that low welfare rates are a problem only for those in the Downtown Eastside (DTES).  Raise the Rates attended the session at the Legislature in Victoria, and even some of the MLAs told stories of how some of their constituents, from outside the DTES, also struggled on welfare.

Stats from the Ministry of Social Development show that low welfare rates affect people right across the province.
In March 2015, the total of those of welfare and disability was 176,911, and that makes up 3% of BC’s total population.  Those stats affect children as well.  There was a total of 33,319 dependent children.
 And the proportion of those in the DTES is small, but significant.  “Out of more than 170,000 on disability or welfare in BC, less than 7,000 are in the DTES”, says Fraser Stuart of Raise the Rates. The MLAs seemed to think that the vocal call for higher rates only came from there.
But Kym “Hothead” Hines, an activist in Victoria, says, “It is near impossible to find a home when you are on welfare or disability…Rates are too low and rents are too high.”  They link the struggle with the need to get more social housing.
Kym talks about the importance of community.  “Many of us fall thru the cracks and no one but us will help us get up out of them, fill them with dirt and shit and grow some community.”
And the proportion of those in the DTES is small, but significant. “Out of more than 170,000 on disability or welfare in BC, less than 7,000 are in the DTES”, says Fraser Stuart of Raise the Rates. The MLAs seemed to think that the vocal call for higher rates only came from there.

They talk about the importance of community. “Many of us fall thru the cracks and no one but us will help us get up out of them, fill them with dirt and shit and grow some community.”

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