5th Raise the Rates Annual Welfare Food Challenge


Please join me and the Grandview Woodland Food Connection in participating in this year’s Welfare Food Challenge. The Grandview Woodland Food Connection is a supporter of the important work that Raise the Rates does in advocating for an increase in social assistance rates. Contact us if you would like to participate  – gwfcnetwork@gmail.com

Starting Oct 16th , we will eat on only $18 for one week, only what can be purchased with the money a welfare recipient receives. Together, we will document/journal/and publicize our experience.

The Challenge highlights the inadequacy of welfare rates in BC. A single person receives only $610 a month, frozen for over 9 years. Raise the Rates, with others, is working to raise public awareness of the extreme poverty of people on welfare; and how this poverty costs the people of BC in human suffering and billions of wasted dollars every year.

The Challenge will start on World Food Day, Sunday October 16, 2016 and run for a full 7 days. Due to the rising cost of rent, even for single room occupancy (SRO) in the Downtown Eastside, participants will be expected to live on only the food they can purchase with $18 dollars. This calculation is based on the expectation that welfare recipients will have to pay rent and damage deposit, cell phone (necessary to look for work and contact the welfare office) and personal hygiene. Buying bus tickets has been dropped, which is what many people on welfare often do, so that there is some money left for food. They either walk or hope for the goodwill of bus drivers – which is usually the case, but they do risk a $173 fine. Out of $610 there is very little money left for food.

The aim of the Challenge is raise public awareness about the poverty of people on welfare and the need for change. To help publicize the Challenge, we hope you will document and publicize your experiences. This could include:

  • Writing blog posts for our website
  • Posting directly to your own social media
  • Attending a news conference and speaking to the media about your experiences of the challenge
  • Sharing your experiences with your friends, family, community members, and policy makers

For more information about the Welfare Food Challenge visit: http://welfarefoodchallenge.org/.

Thank you for considering taking the Welfare Food Challenge. Your contribution to raising awareness and creating policy change is important. If you have any questions or would like to participate, please contact Bill Hopwood at bill50@vcn.bc.ca or 604 738-1653


Total welfare $610
Rent (realistic rent for an SRO)* $479
Room damage deposit $20
No bus tickets – walk everywhere $0
Cell phone (to look for work) $25
Personal hygiene/laundry $10
Total of all non-food expenditures $534
What’s left for food   $76

No money for clothes, transit, a coffee, haircuts, or any social life or treats.

* Note on SRO rent:

SROs are the cheapest accommodation in Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver found that the average rent of an SRO is now $479 a month. This contrasts with the Provincial government’s shelter allowance portion of welfare of $375 a month.


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