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Seamy Underbelly, Part II

Visiting the Downtown Eastside (DTES) has churned up some contradictions for me, and resolving those contradictions requires re-thinking some questions I thought I already knew the answers to:

1) To what extent do people choose to live in the DTES, and to what extent are they stuck there?

2) Does the DTES community strengthen its residents or [...]

My visit to the seamy underbelly

At the harbour, outside my hotel

So…I went to Vancouver for a whirlwind business trip. I arrived Wednesday afternoon and left Friday morning. I was working most of the time, but I did have two more-or-less free evenings, so I did what I could to cram Vancouver in.

I hadn’t been there in 30-odd years, and [...]

Ask Me Anything #2: Marigold's Quandary

This question was sent by email from someone who prefers to remain anonymous, so we’ll call her Marigold.

Marigold recently won an overnight stay for two at a local hotel, breakfast included, valued at $160.

Marigold’s sole source of income is ODSP, which is Ontario’s social assistance plan for people with disabilities. It’s more generous than regular [...]

Salvation Army goes on strike

Sixty unionized workers at the Salvation Army Booth Centre went on strike at 3:00 pm today.

The Booth Centre provides emergency shelter and food to homeless men in Ottawa.

PSAC Local 73100 members are demanding a wage increase which would bring them up to parity with their counterparts at the Shepherds of Good Hope and [...]

Feeding Canada Geese to the Poor

New York City plans to capture Canada Geese and ship them to Pennsylvania, where they will be killed, cooked and fed to the poor.

NYC says the geese pose a hazard to planes, because they sometimes get caught in engines.

They also say that they couldn’t find any takers in New York, which is why [...]

Ottawa’s Homelessness Report Card

Yesterday the Alliance to End Homelessness released their annual report card on how Ottawa is doing on the homelessness issue.

Not so good, apparently:

Based on a selection of indicators in each category in 2009, compared to those same indicators in 2008, Ottawa scored:

D for homelessness
E for length of shelter stay
C for housing
C for income.

If [...]

Do the math

Not too long ago I blogged about Ontario doctors being investigated for welfare abuse because they were completing paperwork that allowed some of their patients to “fraudulently” claim an additional dietary allowance intended for people with chronic illnesses.

There’s now a movement afoot to impress upon the Ontario government the need to increase the welfare [...]

800 rules and 26 million dollars

Awhile back I posted something about welfare cheating, which led to an interesting discussion in the comments about how extensive it might or might not be.

I just read an article on straightgoods.ca called The Poor-Bashing Bandwagon, by Jamie Swift.

Swift points out that:

1. Ontario’s social assistance recipients would need a 55% raise to bring their [...]

Let’s help Ottawasteph avoid eviction

Here’s a novel use of the Internet. Ottawasteph is “a winner on a losing streak.” She was laid off in July and she and her five cats could be homeless by Christmas unless we help her stave off an impending eviction. She’s 45 years old and has lived in her home for twelve years.

There’s [...]

Welfare fraud: A first-hand account

A few days ago I promised to tell you all about my experience as a welfare cheat. Julia, who is a lawyer, informs me there’s no statute of limitations on this, so I’ve invited a friend we’ll call Zoey to do a guest post about her experiences as a welfare cheat.

Zoey’s Story

I was a single [...]