ABOVE: A local musician will find out how some social assistance recipients try to live only on welfare income. Tanya Beja has the story.
VANCOUVER — Bif Naked is taking on the Raise the Rates’ Third Annual Food Challenge. The event aims to highlight the inadequacies of welfare rates in the province, according to its website.
A single person in B.C. receives $610 a month, a rate which has remained stagnant for the past seven years.
“I’m getting tired of telling people the same message,” said Fraser, a man who has lived on welfare for the past three years. “Living on basic welfare…is practically impossible. You’re made to feel degraded. You’re light-headed. Your health is an issue.”
Bif Naked is attempting to live on $3 a day, she says, which is the money left over once rent and other living expenses are deducted from the monthly payments.
Raise the Rates – the organization behind the challenge – provides the following chart which describes where the sum of $21 a week for food comes from:
Why $21 for a Week’s food
|Rent (realistic rent for an SRO)*||$450|
|Room damage deposit||$20|
|Book of 10 bus tickets (to look for work)||$21|
|Cell phone (to look for work)||$25|
|Total of all non-food expenditures||$526|
|What’s left for food||$84|
“We cannot possibly understand or really comprehend how difficult it is and how disempowering it would be, or how disillusioned a person might get, if they really had to eat on $3 a day,” Bif Naked said at a press conference today. “$21 a week – that’s a reality. It’s not a joke.”
The challenge – for those not on welfare – starts on October 16, World Food Day. All British Columbians are invited to eat only what they can purchase with the money welfare recipients receive for one week.
WATCH: Bif Naked tells BC1 why she is participating in the 3rd Annual Welfare Food Challenge