Welfare challenge gets cancelled
Living on a welfare recipient’s budget would leave only $6 per week to live after housing paid
An annual awareness campaign that challenges British Columbians to eat on a welfare recipient’s budget for a week won’t take place this year because the calculated food budget is too low to buy even three loaves of bread.
Raise the Rates, a B.C. coalition of anti-poverty and housing advocates, has run the Welfare Food Challenge since 2012. Each year, organizers calculate how much money B.C. welfare recipients would have left for food each week after they have paid for a cheap room, some bus tickets and basic hygiene supplies.
Last year the amount was $19. This year — even without budgeting for hygiene and a phone — the money left over Vancouver city councillor Jean Swanson hopes the cancellation of the welfare challenge will alert the public to the “dire” state of welfare in this province.
after rent is $6 per week.
Based on a B.C. Centre for Disease Control report released last month, the minimum cost for a week’s worth of healthy food in 2017 would be around $68.40 for a woman and $80.40 for a man.
The $6 budget, according
to Raise the Rates volunteer and recently elected Vancouver city councillor Jean Swanson, is too little to ask anyone to live off of, even for a week.
She wrote an op-ed in The Tyee this week explaining that the challenge could not take place this year.
Reached by Starmetro on Wednesday, Swanson said the reason the food budget Raise the Rates calculated went down so much in 2018 was a spike in housing costs.
Learn more about welfare awareness at thestar.com/vancouver