Name: Gerald Smith

Occupation: Temp Agency Worker/Community Volunteer

Gerald lives in Victoria. He is involved with a group called AIDS Vancouver Island, who work to prevent infection, provide support, and reduce stigma. When he was growing up, he wanted to become a social worker and help young people. Now he works hard to get by on disability and part-time wages, but it’s a constant struggle. He had a very difficult time finding housing and is embarrassed about the condition of his home. He feels that he can’t have his grandson over to visit.

We support raising the disability rates and building more social housing. An income of $906 per month ($10,782 annually) is far below the poverty line, and housing costs are a significant challenge. 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 looked at 12 places. As soon as I mentioned I was on welfare I got shunned. I work part time with a temp agency, [so now] I act as if I work for my disability check and just pay cash.”