Anti-poverty rally calls for rental allowance increases
A rally outside the Manitoba legislature on Friday called on the provincial government to raise rental allowances for people on income assistance.
Make Poverty History Manitoba organized the rally, which attracted hundreds of people over the noon hour.
Protesters lined the front steps of the legislature with shoes — visual references to the good deed of Winnipeg Transit driver Kris Doubledee, who gave his shoes to a homeless man in September.
Rally organizers wanted to send the message that while acts of charity can help someone who is homeless, they are not a long-term solution.
Kristen Bernas, one of the organizers, says rental rates in the province have gone up by 60 or 70 per cent in the last 20 years, but rental allowances have stayed the same.
"We really want the province in this upcoming budget to make a commitment towards increasing the amount that they receive to pay their rent — to fill that gap that's grown so large over the past 20 years," she said.
Make Poverty History Manitoba says it also wants to dispel myths that people in income assistance don't want to work.
People who struggle to pay their rent are often single parents, seniors or the disabled, according to the group.
Bernas said people often have to use their food money to pay for rent, and they usually need to use the food bank as a result.