Colleen

Name: Colleen Boudreau

Occupation: Caretaker/Community Activist

Colleen lives in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with her daughter.  She struggled with addiction for many years and, as a result of her troubles during pregnancy, her daughter has special needs.  She struggles to make ends meet on disability, given her own medical needs as well as her daughter’s.  It took her many years to get into a social housing unit.  Before then, she lived in a bachelor suite and paid the rent not covered by her rent allowance with her food money. She has worked in the past but her pain and osteoarthritis made it very difficult for her to continue.

We support raising disability rates and building more social housing. Housing costs continue to rise without a corresponding increase in disability benefits. There is a severe shortage of publicly subsidized housing in BC, and many people have to wait years before they are able to live in an affordable rental unit.

“I had to live in a bachelor for a long time, paying $150 out of my food money [on top of the shelter portion].  It took me until [my daughter] was 3 that I could get into Mavis [social housing complex].  I get an extra $200 a month as a child tax credit.  But still, you consider her special needs, orthotics, tutoring…”