Thursday, January 24, 2008

Raise Welfare Rates to $1,300/Month, Says Activist Group

photo: welfare office, Powell St., Jan. 23, 2008

A group calling themselves, "Raise the Rates", wants welfare rates doubled in British Columbia. They want the Campbell government to pony up $1,300 per month for each welfare recipient. That figure is based on the Market Basket Measure, anti-poverty activist Rolph Auer explained in the Jan. 15th Carnegie Newsletter. The MBM calculates the cost of food, shelter, transportation and other commodities a person needs just to get by.

Raise the Rates would also like people on welfare -- Income Assistance is what it is officially called -- to be allowed to earn at least $500 on top of their welfare cheque. On this point, they have something in common with the right-wing Fraser Institute which supports an earning exemption for welfare recipients. The Fraser Institute believes that allowing welfare clients to earn a bit of money keeps them connected to the work force. Oddly, welfare recipients who have "unemployable" status due to either a temporary or longterm disability, are the only ones allowed to earn extra money while on welfare. Employable people are forbidden from taking jobs without having the amount earned deducted from their cheque. If they don't report the earnings and are caught, they will be kicked off the welfare rolls and possibly charged with fraud.

Regardless of the current low welfare rate which, according to Auer is $610 per month for a single person, there is a healthy demand for welfare judging from Wednesday’s line ups. There were two line ups at one Downtown Eastside welfare building at Powell & Main St., one line up along Powell St. and another along Main Street. There are two welfare offices in the same building, one upstairs and one downstairs. Most clients lining up for a welfare cheque are male, and one client pointed out that many in the line ups this month were young. The above photo of a line up was taken around 3:30 p.m. and there was still a line up. It lasted until after 4 p.m.

At least one line up at the welfare office continued all day Thursday. [Update: Again on Friday, there was a line up.]

Clients line up at their welfare office if they have not arranged to have their cheque mailed to their home or directly deposited in their bank account. They also have to line up if they have neglected to sign and turn last month's cheque "stub" -- a short form attached to all welfare cheques -- in to the welfare office. The stub acts as confirmation that you will need assistance again next month (i.e. you haven't found a job.)

Welfare day on Wednesday ended a "five week month." That means welfare recipients had to make their December cheque last five weeks, rather than the usual four weeks. But the amount of the cheque is the same whether it's a four or a five week month. Anti-poverty advocates would like the government to put an end to five week months.

At the end of a five week month, if a person is hungry, they can sometimes get away with hitting a welfare worker up for a $20 food voucher. But welfare workers don't like clients to make a habit of asking for vouchers. If you regularly show that you can't manage your money, the welfare office will manage it for you. The welfare worker may put you on what Downtown Eastsiders refer to as "administered", which means you are issued a small cheque once a week.

The long line ups at the welfare office this month are a mystery as Vancouver’s pre-Olympic economy is going full tilt and employers are begging for workers.


Omar Cruz said...
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rachel davis said...

This is too much. Advertising on blog comments?

Dag said...

I use "comment moderation" to keep out the spam, but I fear it also dissuades people from commenting at all. It's easy enough to delete spam from the comments but till it happens we're stuck with it.

On the other hand, I put up ads on my blog so I can become rich as well and being handsome and famous. does it offend? No, obviously not, as the ads at this blog on the sidebar don't offend. But some, and in a large and public world we will find many of all kinds, there are those who care not about the rights of others, such as the anon spammer above. Tying that to our mutual theme, those who ban bloggers are also as obnoxious as spammers, thinking and acting as if it is only they who matter in the lives of others. Those who ban Simpson, for example, from writing or expressing himself against their wishes also demand that we follow their opinions to the letter or suffer for our disobedience. It's a matter of respect for the rights of others and a recognition of the rights of others that gives us strength to provide a fair forum for those we disagree with; and in the Carnegie Centre and related orgainizations we find there is no respect for the being of others, they being relegated to a state of infantcy, infantalised and bullied by Gnostic minders who despise others as much as does the average spammer despise the world at large.

It is important to us to keep the openness we desire also open for others, and if required, to delete the obvious spam that seeps in as it will. It's a matter of mature judgment. The Gnostic minders cannot have such good judgment since they obviously hate and despise the people in the first place, disallowing all other opinion as invalid simply because it is not their position on any given ideological stance. So Simpson gets banned along with spammers and gadflies and passers-by and who knows who. There is degree, and only thinking and open minded people, not ideologues and Gnostics,can exercise it rightly.

One must rid the Carnegie Centre of those "experts" who know the Truth, the true believers who will condemn to the streets any who oppose them. If there is no room there for Simpson, then there is no room for me, and there will come a time when there is no room for you and for the others, whoever they might be. Already the Carnegie Centre is a club for friends and family of union staff. It's a whole can of spam on a corner in the centre of this city. Yuck.

Marlon said...

yea...I just don't get it. When I was in Vancouver last October there were people walking up to me in the mall asking if I was interested in filling out an application to work.

So there are no lack of jobs out there...

Young healthy people should not be allowed to get welfare...they should be made to work for their taxpayer-funded checks.