Vancouver – I am an articling student with Pivot Legal Society and a member of the 2016 Pivot Legal Welfare Food Challenge Team. Before joining Pivot, I worked for several years in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside as a Mental Health Worker. I also worked in the DTES Central Kitchen and helped run a food program in the same neighborhood. Through these experiences, it has become more than apparent to me that the current rates of income assistance are unlivable.
Food is so much a part of our lives: not only in the obvious, biological sense, but also as a key part of our daily social practice. Food brings us together as families and as communities. When the ability to sustain oneself is starved, so too is the ability to participate socially. I’ll admit I’m daunted by the idea of stretching $18 to last seven days. For me, though, this is merely a challenge. For the many who must make the same amount last a week for weeks on end, it is more than a challenge; it is an impossibility. Raising income assistance rates has to be a priority—there are no excuses