$100 a month boost means the world to those on income assistance | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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$100 a month boost means the world to those on income assistance

Until now many people living on income assistance in Kamloops have chosen to be homeless in order to have enough money to survive.
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July 22, 2017 - 4:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - It may not seem like a lot, but to residents living on income assistance it could mean the difference between living on the street and having a roof over their head.

After B.C. Premier John Horgan announced those who are living on income assistance will be getting an extra $100 a month following a 10-year freeze, Bob Hughes, the Executive Director of ASK Wellness Society in Kamloops, says it's about time. Trying to survive on $610 just wasn’t enough for most people.

“The Liberals remained steadfast in their determination to starve these people living on income assistance,” says Hughes. “With the idea that if you don’t make it easy and really grind them they will push hard to get off income assistance and get a job.”

That tactic simply wasn’t working, according to Hughes. Ten years ago you could rent a unit in Kamloops for around $400 giving people $210 to live with. Today a cheap unit goes for around $600 leaving you just $10 for the month.

He also points out $375 of the income assistance could only go to housing. This lead to people choosing to live on the street with their $235 rather than finding a place to live and only have $10 left over.

Hughes says some questions remain unanswered, like whether the extra $100 will be allocated for housing only.

“I’m hopeful that they prescribe it to raise from $375 to $475,” he says. “That wasn’t revealed in the release from the NDP but I hope it is.”

The only concern now is whether landlords will increase their rental rates, though Hughes believes if that happens they will be able to manage or mitigate the issue.

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