Name: Valerie Elliot

Occupation: Student

Valerie lives in BC Housing on Vancouver’s east side near Commercial Drive.  She is on disability, and is currently going to school at UBC for a degree in Social Work.  She worked for many years as a Nurse’s Aide in North Vancouver but, after a divorce and struggles with mental health, she has changed career paths and her lifestyle.  Valerie worries about safety in her neighbourhood, and she struggles with food security as well.  She goes to the food bank and budgets very carefully to get by.  She is enjoying her time at school and hopes to put her degree to use once she’s finished.

We support raising disability rates, building more social housing, and providing meaningful education opportunities to people on income assistance. An income of $906 per month ($10,782 annually) is significantly below the poverty line. People with disabilities have the right to live with dignity, without having to resort to charities.

“It’s great that they allow us to work, and the limit is up to $800 tax free or whatever it is.  But not everyone can work.  I can’t work all the time.  And I’m undertrained, or whatever you want to call it.  I need to go to school, because my skills are so old that it would be very difficult to find employment.”