This challenge is asking families to attempt to stay within a social assistance budget for five days. Ontario Works benefits provide a maximum basic needs for a couple with any amount of children is $458.00; this sets the challenge budget at $75.00 per family, or $15 per day. A single parent would receive $344.00 per month, therefore, their challenge budget will be $60.00 or $12.00 per day.

The budget includes all food and drink, entertainment, some personal supplies and transportation costs. Each family will be given daily challenge cards which will reveal additional challenges to be completed before the end of each day. As the family completes the challenge, they will blog about their experience.

Griffiths Family

Griffiths Family

Monday, February 10, 2014

There are resources available in Kenora you just have to look

We were all a little tired this morning around my house and the kids missed the bus so I have to take another $1 off of the budget to 'pay a friend to drive them'.  I had a chance to speak to the residents at my work about some of their challenges while on assistance.  A few of their concerns were;
     Lack of suitable housing in the area is a huge concern, living in sub-par housing conditions and not knowing or feeling confident enough to follow through with getting their landlords to bring them up to par.
     They thought that windows that leaked air were a concern because if their heating cost brings them over their housing amount then PNA would have to be used and they would have less for food and other needs.
     I told the clients that I have not allowed friends and family to help me during the challenge and most of the residents felt like family and friends were the biggest resource they had.  They ate together and helped take care of one another. One resident noted that they have never starved or worried about food while on assistance.
     They felt the bussing system in Kenora is not always a resource when they have to stand outside in the cold to wait for the bus.
-Addictions while on OW -
     A few residents wanted me to share how hard it is for people with Addictions to stay on OW, and to budget over the month.  This program is what is offered for them to reintegrate into working society but sometimes the pressure of having to get back to work is too much for them when thinking about recovery. They may benefit from a program that is designed to help them recover from their addictions and the underlying factors without the pressure of work.  To me it makes more sense to give them the time they need and then when they are ready they could move to a program like OW.

I didn't get a chance to make it to the fellowship to volunteer today because my board meeting ran over but I did get a chance to talk to people about resources that are available.  I brought 2 bananas with me and was going to eat at the fellowship so I didn't have a lunch.  We had lunch at our board meeting but I wasn't going to touch it so I had a few cinnamon hearts that the health unit had at their front desk.  Leftovers for supper were great!! and much needed.

I spoke to the health unit first and got a fact sheet about lice and 'What Parents Need to Know'  This is a great resource which includes information about the Nits, Head lice, how it can and cannot be spread, how to prevent lice, how to check your child, what to do when you find out someone has it, Treatment and Cleaning.  The health unit unfortunately does not provide shampoos but sometimes has samples for people.  They referred me to look further into Triple play about paying for swimsuits and costs related to sports for yesterdays challenge.

I then went to WNHAC downtown because I am a Metis and fit within their mandate, they provide health services to Aboriginal, Inuit and Metis people on and off reserve.  They were an amazing resource and very helpful, they may be able to provide the treatment needed or they will work the the various band councils through their outreach program to treat and do the preventative measures needed to get rid of lice.  The woman I spoke to was very helpful, they do not have a clothing program but work with and refer people to the Ne Chee center for food and clothing.  She informed me about the food hamper program that they run as well as a soup kitchen from 11-3 on Monday and Wednesdays.  I will try to contact Ne-Chee tomorrow to find out what other services they may offer.  It sounds like the Minto resource centre is another place I should check out for clothing and other resources, I heard good things about them from the health unit and WNHAC.

After I left there I only had another half hour before getting the kids off the bus so I thought I'd go to the source...Ontario Works, I hadn't spoken to them yet and this should have been my first stop.  The case managers they have are amazing, the woman I spoke to has a huge heart and belongs in her position.  She has even gone out of her way to drive a client out of town to a treatment center that they couldn't afford to get to by themselves.  They provide vouchers for lice shampoo as well as spray to treat furniture.  She also addressed a concern that one of the residents had in the morning...heat going out the window, they can provide heat shields for the windows and sliding doors through the winter.  They have access to computers, employment resources and other information that their clients could be interested in posted on the walls.  There is a monthly newsletter that lets their clients know of the current resources.

Long winded I know but all in all it was a successful day, it took some time but my Treatment was paid for 2 times...

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