Name: Malcolm Sword

Occupation: Community Volunteer

Malcom is currently living in a shelter in Victoria. He is involved with AIDS Vancouver Island, who work to prevent infection, provide support, and reduce stigma. He tries to get by on welfare, and volunteers weekly with the Coalition to End Homelessness. He feels frustrated with the amount of time he loses each day lining up to receive basic services. He sometimes spends over 6 hours just getting food. He also sees steep barriers to accessing safe, clean housing.

We support raising welfare rates, indexing them to inflation, and providing more social housing. Welfare rates are completely inadequate and have not been increased since 2007, while the cost of living has risen substantially in that time. People living in poverty are more likely to have health issues, and the health care costs of poverty are $1.2 billion per year.

“Finding clean, decent accommodation is impossible. The time spent to survive, look for work, and plan for the future…  It’s nearly impossible to get stability in my life.”