Photo of Lou Black

Lou Black

Live: Commercial Drive, Vancouver

About myself: I’m optimistic, and a big fan of the work of Raise the Rates. I work as a Researcher and Policy Analyst with the Hospital Employees Union (HEU). I’m very physically active and as a result, am high maintenance in terms of caloric needs.

Why I am doing the Welfare Food Challenge: I worked in shelters for a lot of years before taking my current job. I have watched hundreds of resourceful, well intended, and wonderful people struggle to sustain themselves on the pittance they receive from the government. It’s impossible, and they end up in shelters, food line ups, and suffering deteriorating health as a result. From an economic perspective, the temporary measures established to address these consequences represent societal resources/money that would be far better invested if put directly in the hands of those living in poverty.

$610 a month is an appallingly small amount to expect anyone to live on in this province, and especially in Vancouver. It angers me to know that there has been no will on the part of any political party in BC to substantially change this in the last number of decades.

I want to draw attention to this legislated poverty and hope to rouse others to take action to demand that the government raise welfare rates.

Worries: Finding the time to make all my food, running out of food, feeling weak or ‘crashing’ for lack of food. I eat 5 times/day and rely on snacks before I bike home, work out, or to get me through to meal time. $21 didn’t buy snacks other than five bananas. I might be eating a lot of cold oatmeal and rice and will probably be grumpy as a result…be extra nice or cautious if you see me this week.

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