In times of crisis, we need to come together to support one another.
While we are experiencing a health crisis of unprecedented proportions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals and communities continue to struggle. The government has already announced plans for postponing Manitoba’s 150 celebrations, but hasn’t yet said how they will directly support Manitoba’s most vulnerable populations.
Basic needs are essential at all times, especially during a crisis, that’s why we are calling on the Province of Manitoba to immediately increase the EIA budget by $300 per person, per month for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The support to EIA would boost the rate from a standard that already inadequately meets people’s needs. As of 2018/2019, there are over 73,000 individual Manitobans on EIA and current rates are so low that many cannot afford a cell phone, bus tickets, or sanitary and hygiene products that are necessary during a crisis.
With community resources that often provide free meals, computer access, and other resources shutting down or limiting operations, there are further constraints to access. Children who rely on at-school food programs are left hungry and organizations are struggling to operate. The need for basic necessities is high and resources are limited.
“We’re usually the people that they forget,’ Hermkens said. ‘They think, oh they’re on welfare, they’re fine. Well, we never were fine on welfare; now it’s even harder for us.”
-Rina Hermkens, Supporter of Increase EIA Campaign, Quoted from Winnipeg Free Press
Individuals on EIA already take extreme measures to stretch their limited budget, now more than ever, those funds are not enough. Employment options have dried up, and looking for work is almost impossible given the public health order to stay home.
To learn more about our campaign for an immediate Employment & Income Assistance increase here.
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