I sent an email to my MLA, Rob Fleming two days ago, expressing my frustration with the welfare system and stating that my support of the party in the next election is contingent on an increase in welfare rates.
I also mentioned that I was aware of the poverty reduction bill that NDP MLA Shane Simpson tabled and wondered whether the NDP had intentions to table this as a government bill when they take power in 2013.
I was pleased with the quick response from my MLA, and with his suggestion that his constituency office might be able to assist with any future problems I have down at the welfare office. I got an answer on poverty reduction, but not on welfare rates.
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A welfare office in Chicago, 1903. Today the lineups are much longer. That's progress.
Every month since I’ve been on welfare they’ve somehow not mailed my check, and the only way to find out why is to go down there and wait in line. The lineup is designed specifically to frustrate you into not wanting to be on welfare, and to walk out in frustration and go apply at Subway. Instead of taking a number, you sit in chairs in the order that you arrived. When one person gets up to go to the counter, all 25 or so people waiting stand up and shift to the chair next to them. At the counter, a receptionist decides whether you need to see a worker, then sends you over to another part of the lobby, where there are no chairs, and the dozen or so people there are left to themselves to figure out who is next, which doesn’t work, and arguments ensue, the aggressive jump the cue and get in ahead of the passive. Then you see a worker and they check the computer, confirm your check wasn’t mailed and tell you there was no reason they could find for it, that it was just some error perhaps. The whole process takes about three hours. Read the rest of this entry
I don’t want to be on welfare. The picture posted with this article was taken at a rally two years ago protesting something the government had done to fuck over the poor. At the time I was helping to organize a project we called the Autonomous Community Support Network, and I stood on those steps and told people all this protesting was not bringing the change we needed. Year after year it’s the same thing; the cost of living goes up and welfare goes down. We march, we rally, we occupy, we hang banners, we do some stunt to get arrested, we write letters, sign petitions, contact every politician we can and yet nothing. Read the rest of this entry
Kym Hines (right) and friend after the debut showing of 'Taking the Fall'
After nearly two years in production, a film highlighting life on the streets of Victoria finally had it’s big screen debut.
“Taking The Fall: Life on The Streets” is chapter one in a documentary project filmed, directed and edited by Kym ‘Hothead’ Hines and produced by the Committee to End Homelessness.
While I had a very very minor role in the production of the film (watching a few early drafts and sharing suggestions) this is a project very dear to my heart, and I was incredibly pleased to see it being shared tonight at the Vic Theatre in front of a hundred or more people.
I’ve known Kym since 2007, when we were roommates at the Linden House, a legendary, now defunct, activist house. I’ve been a member of the Committee to End Homelessness off and on for many years. And back when Kym started shooting his documentary, I was also involved in a film project focused on Pandora Green. (The Beautification of Pandora Green)
. Kym and I have lunch together at Our Place whenever we see each other there, and we like to ride the bus having loud conversations about poverty, colonialism and other radical topics, just to shake the town up that little bit. Read the rest of this entry
I’m not sure if there is a name for scavenging food from public trash receptacles. It’s not quite dumpster diving, and I wouldn’t call it canning either, as that usually refers to collecting refundable cans.
Whatever it’s called, it paid off for me today perfectly.
I left the house early today to do some work for a friend. My food supply at home is limited to rice, beans, noodles, quinoa, potatoes and tomato sauce. I woke up a half hour before I had to leave, and there was no time to cook any of that, and besides, I can’t eat when I first get up.
So I figured I’d check the garbage cans when I got downtown. This is something I’ve resorted to on many occasions. Usually, a check into a hundred or so garbage cans downtown will eventually yield unfinished take-out food, half eaten bags of chips and if you’re collecting cans, a buck or two worth. I don’t mind that I’m highly visibile while I do this. The downtown core is filled with decadence and conspicuous consumption, which is far more disgusting to me. I like to remind the sheeple and tourists that poverty exists in our lovely little city, and that people are going to desperate measures to survive.
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