After the divorce I was raised by a single mother, and though she did her best to hide our financial struggles, there are some things it is impossible to hide from your kids. Our lifestyle changed completely. Moving and starting roughly at a new school because we could no longer afford to stay in my childhood home; I was scolded for showing up without supplies and wearing a uniform shirt without a crest. These are things that we did not have the budget for. Summers that had once been spent at our trailer we’re now spent behind our local convenience store, building forts out of grocery carts with the neighbourhood kids or at the local park. My mom did what she could to keep us clothed and fed but became unhappy, dealing with not only a difficult separation but also poverty. I remember, as holidays approached, hearing her cry when she believed I was asleep and not knowing why. I know now that she was worried about not being able to provide us with a Christmas. We could not afford our old house or trailer, vacations, extra curricular activities, school trips, birthday parties with friends, and more. My mom tried to protect us from poverty and now that I’m older I can see the things she did, like selling her jewelry and household belongings to keep food on the table.
My life has changed a lot in the past few years, but my family is still poor working class. Last year my family applied for basic income and was accepted. Since then my step dad got injured and required surgery, he has been off work for a year. Basic income has helped us survive this family crisis. It has helped many and I believe would continue to do so if it weren’t brought to an end. Personally, it has allowed me to get a cat, join my classes on school trips, and ask my parents for a few bucks without feeling guilty. I can see the difference in my moms stress and how happy she is to be able to give me money for these things. She was planning to fix things up around the house that have needed repair for a long time. Now all that has come to an end.
I was raised with strong morals and have always believed in helping those who need it. It frustrates me when our government does not listen to the people, instead focused on their profits while hard workers I know still struggle to make ends meet. These people are concerned about keeping stomachs full and backs clothed. They do not have the luxury of prioritizing lower gas prices and cheap beer. I really hope that our government will take a moment to listen to those this pilot program has already helped.
Victoria, 16yrs old