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'Raise the Rates' kicks off annual Welfare Food Challenge

(Shannon Brennan, NEWS 1130 Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Could you live on $610 a month? That’s the question being asked by the organizers of the Welfare Food Challenge.

Raise the Rates” is kicking off off its annual challenge with a couple of local notables.

“Somebody has to step up for them. Hopefully, I can lend my voice. That’s the bottom line,” says local musician Bif Naked.

She believe people blame the poor for being poor. “There are senior citizens who live in the Downtown Eastside. They have multiple barriers and they’re never going to catch a break. How is it possible that anybody would ever get any hope?”

She says welfare rates haven’t been raised in eight years, leaving people with only enough money to pay for food for a week after rent.

Organizers say 177,000 people rely on welfare in BC every year. They argue the cheapest rent for a one-bedroom, shared bathroom accommodation is $450 per month, but most are over $600.

Vancouver East MP-elect Jenny Kwan is also taking the challenge,which begins November 3rd.