'A downhill battle': Stories of social assistance struggles in spotlight at Sask. Legislature

Single parents on social assistance struggling to make ends meet told their stories at the legislative building on Thursday.

Frank Francoeur lives in a government owned rental-housing building but can no longer afford to live there. He said he is being evicted at the end of the month as others from the same building on social assistance were recently.

“Every building has at least two children. Everybody plays together. (My) children are still talking about all the families that got evicted throughout twelve months. The building has been sitting almost vacant by half,” he said.

Kelly Anderson, a single mom to an 18-month old, worries she could lose her apartment because she no longer receives enough assistance to pay for power.

“I’ve always paid everything on time. I’ve never had disconnection notices, nothing. Ever since I have been switched over to SIS, it’s been nothing but a downhill battle,” she said.

Both came to the legislative building to talk about how their financial situations have worsened since the government made changes to social assistance programs.

“We all pay a price when we have a ministry that would rather pay $150 a night for a hotel room for an evicted person than pay that same amount towards heating that person’s house and keeping them housed,” said NDP MLA Meara Conway.

The government said it has increased shelter allowances but acknowledges that some people are having problems.

“Well the nature of the program, quite frankly, is the clients usually have challenges and problems. It’s an income assistance program of last resort,” said Deputy Premier Donna Harpauer.

Coming to the legislative building was a last resort for the single parents fearing eviction. The government met with them privately to work toward solutions.