Blog post by Tina Winterlik © 2011
From his blog
Sharing a bathroom in any situation is an easy way to transmit viruses and bugs. In our SRO, sharing a bathroom with 11 others offers its own health challenges. I’ve often thought about all the people I’ve met with who are living in poverty and suffering health issues. How do individuals with immune-compromised illnesses protect themselves while living in poverty? The answer is easy: they don’t have that choice. Something as simple as a clean bathroom is a luxury not afforded in an SRO.
I met a man from another SRO who showed me his building which has seven floors. There was only one shower for approximately 120 people – It’s simply unimaginable.
I am told that there are 5,000 people living in SRO’s inVancouver. A majority of them have no cooking facilities. As a result, these individuals have to line up for free food, sometimes for two to three meals a day, spending over four hours in line ups.
Life in an SRO can be quick to break your spirit and your body. It becomes very hard to focus on finding your way when each day is an uphill battle to survive.
Binning- Binners http://mlaonwelfare.com/2012/02/01/survival-binning-and-community/
I was surprised to learn that there are people who spend about 8 hours a day binning to make a meagre $35 – that’s if they’re lucky. This works out to around $4.50 an hour. Binning is really dirty and you put your health at risk. Some of the bins are full of garbage or materials from the SRO’s as they are being cleaned out. Items with cockroaches, bedbugs, etc are tossed into the dumpsters. It’s not uncommon to contract a health issue through binning. I am now fully aware at this point that for those people who are on welfare, under the expected to work category – that if they try to earn extra monies to help supplement their incomes, such as selling bottles or other items that can be salvaged, whatever money is made will be deducted from their welfare cheque – dollar for dollar. If this amount is not declared to welfare – it is considered to be welfare fraud.