Name: Carol Martin

Occupation: Women’s Centre Worker

Carol works full time at a Women’s Centre in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.  She, her partner and her 5 children live in a low cost housing unit.  Things are more stable for her now, but in the past when she was living as a single parent, she worked 3 jobs and had to visit the food bank to supplement her and her children’s basic food needs.  Carol is frustrated with the cost of raising children in BC.  She’s seen it go up and up with nothing changing to help assuage it.  She sees so many people suffering from poverty, and many others benefiting from it.

We support raising the welfare rates, providing universal child care and a living wage. Although above the minimum wage, a living wage still only provides a bare-bones budget. It reflects what a family (two earners, two children) needs to meet their basic needs: food, shelter, clothing, a used car, child care expenses, health care not included in medicare, MSP monthly premiums, and taxes. For Vancouver, it is now $19.14.

“Every day is a struggle for those living in poverty.  Times have not decreased but increased those living in poverty.  High prices have pushed many people into homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.  It’s a person’s daily job to find food during the morning, afternoon, and evening. Every person struggles–some at the cost of their lives.”