Homeless Brandon man whose truck was seized lands new home
Former school bus driver blames government for pushing people into poverty
A Brandon man who became homeless after police seized his truck, which he had been living in for years, has a new place to live thanks to someone who heard his story on CBC.
Ray Corkum drove a school bus for 14 years, but now the 65-year-old earns minimum wage, stocking shelves 10 hours a week in the western Manitoba city. He has been trying to secure full-time work, but he hasn't been successful so far.
Corkum said money is tight, so he eats at a local soup kitchen.
For the last six weeks, he was living in a freight car because his unregistered truck was seized over unpaid fines and traffic tickets he couldn't afford to pay.
"The law put me here," he said. "You sleep for an hour, then wake up almost frozen. That's what it's like. My feet are still stinging."
Before the truck was seized, Corkum had been living in it since 2009.
Corkum went to court on Thursday in an effort to get his truck back, but the matter was adjourned.
Even if he succeeds in court, he could face impound fees he says he cannot afford to pay.
Meanwhile, a Brandon resident stepped up to help Corkum after hearing his story on Thursday. The man, who has asked to remained anonymous, offered him an apartment in his home for very low rent.
"He walked up to me after hearing the story on CBC and he offered me a place to rent at a lower rate, and I appreciate it very much," said Corkum, who will move in on Friday.
"He does not want his name mentioned, but I would love to scream it out and I wish there were more people like him."
Government is 'ruining people'
Corkum said the province is failing low-income people. Social assistance that has barely budged in two decades, and minimum wage is just $10.45 an hour despite the increasing cost of living.
The rental allowance on social assistance has remained at about $285 a month in Manitoba, while the average cost to rent an apartment has risen to $727 per month.
You either eat and live in a vehicle, or live in an apartment and starve to death.- Ray Corkum
"I just wish the people in the government would come out here and try this, for $10," he said. "Try and live for six months, never mind three, four years."
He said it has pushed many working Manitobans out onto the street.
"You either eat and live in a vehicle, or live in an apartment and starve to death," he said. "The law here, the government, it's ruining people."
The Social Planning Council says about 50,000 working Manitobans frequent food banks every month, and situations like Corkum's are becoming more and more common.
According to the council, a living wage in Manitoba would be closer to $14 per hour.