2016 News Release

Download the 2016 Welfare Food Challenge Launch News Release (PDF).

Photo of Bill Hopwood speaking to the Press at the launch of the Welfare Food Challenge at the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House on Sun, Oct 16, 2016

Media Release
For Immediate Release
October 15, 2016
Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territory

Eating $18 worth of food for a week

5th Annual Welfare Food Challenge starts Sunday, October 16

At the start of the Welfare Food Challenge, some of the 100s of participants from all across BC will explain why they are taking the Challenge and their expectations and concerns.

Photo of some of the 2016 Welfare Food Challenge Participants at the launch event at the Downtown Neighbourhood House on Oct 16th

Participants of the Welfare Food Challenge. From left to right: Jenny Kwan, Jessica Hannon, Glen Hansman, Andrea Reimer, and Victor Elkins.


At the launch will be Vancouver City Councillor Andrea Reimer, Jenny Kwan, MP, and union leaders Victor Elkins (HEU) and Glen Hansman (BC Teachers). They will be joined by other Challenge Takers and people on welfare who live the Challenge every week.

Raise the Rates organizes the Welfare Food Challenge to highlight the extreme poverty of people on welfare. There has been no increase in basic welfare rates in BC for nearly 10 years. Because of soaring rents, a single person on basic welfare has only $18 a week for food.

See how much food people can buy for $18 versus how much food you’d have if you bought a nutritious diet.

Talk to people who are taking the Challenge and find out why they are doing it.

Media Launch:
Sunday, October 16, 12:45 pm
Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House

573 E Hastings St, Vancouver

Contact Raise the Rates:

Explanation of Why $18 for food for a week

Total welfare   $610
Rent (realistic rent for an SRO)* $479  
Room damage deposit $20  
No bus tickets – walk everywhere $0  
Cell phone (to look for work) $25  
Personal hygiene/laundry $10  
Total of all non-food expenditures $534  
What’s left for food   $76

$76 x 12 months = $912 for a year

$912 a yr/365 days = $2.50 a day

$2.50 x 7 days = $17.50 a week

Allow $18 for a week’s food

No money for clothes, transit, a coffee, haircuts, or any social life or treats.

* Note on SRO rent:
SROs are the cheapest accommodation in Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver found that the average rent of an SRO is now $479 a month. This contrasts with the Provincial government’s shelter allowance portion of welfare of $375 a month.

(http://council.vancouver.ca/20160531/documents/rr1presentation.pdf page 14)

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