Tag Archives: government funding in BC

Time Flies By Whether You Are Having Fun Or Not

Two years ago in February I put the offer in on the cabin at Hatzic Lake, I had started a new job, and the future was looking a lot brighter. I was perfectly happy to live in this little cabin for the rest of my days.  Looking back I was still so very broken; I was not comfortable talking to people, I felt self-conscious and afraid I would say something stupid, I still talked about James a fair amount (but he kept creating trouble in my life so that kept him forefront in my mind). I kept to myself the first year, I took a lot of walks, did a lot of meditation, reading and breathing. I loved to look out my window at the lake, the herons and eagles soaring overhead.

So much has happened in those two years, I wasn’t even in my place a month when James managed to hack into my phone and tried to get me fired by placing an anonymous call to my boss, he was coming in here anonymously trying to discredit me and he called the management board where I live making anonymous complaints against me trying to get me evicted. I noticed I was very low energy and tired easily, my feet were so swollen I couldn’t wear most of my shoes, I was struggling to even go up a few stairs. I had just started my new job and thought I could “just push through it” but my body had different ideas and I had my second heart attack.  I was able to get sick benefits through E.I. and then my brother hired me for a while and I was able to get unemployment insurance benefits for a little longer. I was still trying to keep the cabin but it began to look pretty doubtful.

I applied to receive funding to train to be a Life Skills Counselor and that was a joke, as some of you know, I have been living on welfare for almost a year which is $610/month and I get an extra $10/month because I have a heart condition. Whoopeee, I try to not spend it all in the same place. (sarcasm). I handed in my research and funding ap in November 2014 and my course was to start Jan 7th 2015. I found out I was denied in February, the reason I was denied was because it wasn’t in the regulation black binder. My worker had not done her job, my package sat on 3 different people’s desks and not one of them even read it, yet they denied me. February I had a new worker and I questioned her on why I was denied. When it became clear that no one had even read the funding application she set about helping me resubmit. I am really impressed with her efforts and have thanked her. I will be sending a letter to her supervisor expressing my appreciate this week. I had a new start date of April 7th, we submitted the 2nd funding application a few weeks ago and I was denied again. This time it is because the government will only pay $7500 towards education and my course is $10,000, the school said they would carry the $2500 and I could pay it $50 a month but the funding committee won’t go for it because I won’t get my diploma until it is paid in full. (I can see their point). I applied for a student loan and haven’t heard back.

Dealing with the government is an exercise in futility, they keep contradicting themselves, at one time they said I didn’t have enough money to go to school (that is why I was needing help) They wanted me to apply for jobs I have experience in but the reason I need to be retrained is because I can’t do those jobs any more. They said that the commuter train into Vancouver was too expensive and I should drive into Vancouver for school yet they won’t pay for my car insurance but they will pay $.25/km for me to drive which comes to $6500 for the duration of the course, the commuter train was going to cost $3350. Yeah I know, like my worker said and I quote her exactly. “They are so fucking stupid.”

So as it stands right now I will not be going to school in April and I can not fight it any more. I have wasted so much time working on this as it is and I have to find a way to make money. $620 just does not cut it, it is impossible to live on that. When I started out on that much I had a fair amount of supplies but everything is depleted now and I haven’t paid rent this month. I have steadily gotten further and further behind on my bills, my phone is way past due, my hydro is the same, and now I have to move by the April long weekend. I knew the move was inevitable but had hoped I would have gotten my funding for school and would be getting more money per month so I could rent a place or best case scenario I would have finished school and have a job.

My son is living about a 5 hour drive away in a small town called Oliver, which is a cute little town in a beautiful touristy area but he rents a tiny one bedroom cabin and there isn’t room for me.

I am starting to sell my furniture, I didn’t pay much for it and got some of it free off Craig’s list and refinished it. I love my table and china cabinet that I distressed but it is not worth paying storage charges on it. My girlfriend has offered to store some stuff in her basement, and come the first week of April I don’t know where I will be living. I could very well be in my car. I wish I had a holiday trailer or something, I would camp for the summer. I really can’t believe I am facing homelessness again. That is why I stayed as long as I did with James, I hoped to save enough money that I could rent a place but of course he kept sabotaging my truck and I left with $5 and my dog. I slept in my truck for a while and then got to live in a mobile home for a while. The thing is, once you have been that broken and been homeless, you don’t have a safety net, any little expensive can throw you right back, let alone I had another heart attack and then wasting all that time trying to get funding. I have opened my online store but there is no way that is going to get me over this hurdle.

I have avoided saying anything because, well for several reasons

1. I didn’t want to believe it, it is my greatest fear, being homeless.

2. I didn’t want people coming in here and thinking “Oh my God she has been out for 5 years and still isn’t back on her feet, what hope do I have or maybe they will think it is better to stay with their abuser.  (it isn’t)

3. I was trying to stay positive, I really believed that eventually I would get the funding because it makes sense and I did such a bang up job on my application. I did my absolute best, they even said they had never had someone put the effort in that I had.

I can’t help but be thankful for the time I was here at the lake, I did so much healing while I was here and much more capable of dealing with this stress than I was when I came here. I don’t feel like a loser, or a lesser person for the position I am in because I know I have done everything within my power to improve my situation and it just didn’t come together for whatever reason. I trust God has a plan, it had better be a good one!!

I am giving you all a heads up that once I am out of here I won’t have the internet or anyway to afford it and will probably have to shut the blog down or at the very least shut off the ability to comment.

BTW I will be writing the head office of the company responsible for administering the funding program and I will be CCing my politicians and the newspaper. If the government is sincere about helping women leaving an abusive relationship they have a long ways to go because from what I have experienced, the reason I stayed still exists and if anything there is less help than there was 15 years ago.

Life Throws Curve Balls Whether We Like It or Not

I have been absent the last little while, a snowstorm had me without power for a day and 1/2, and then without internet for another day and 1/2 so I got horribly behind on comments what with Christmas and all just prior to the snow and ice.

I have been doing a lot of thinking, weighing the pros and cons, looking realistically at my situation and have had to make some hard choices. I am still mulling over exactly how I am going to execute some of my decisions but I will share the decisions I have made with you now and fine tune them later. Perhaps writing things out will help me sort through my thoughts.

The problem: what else? money of course. I have been flying by the seat of my pants for a couple of years now and it is just not working. I never started the blog thinking it was going to make me money, when I started the blog I still had my truck and was thinking I was going to somehow pull myself out of the financial ruin I was in. I didn’t have a clue about blogging when I started it and I still don’t know much, certainly not how to make it pay. The bit of advertising makes me close to $100 a month and people have been very generous with their donations. Help from family and donations are what has gotten me through until now. But I am always behind the 8 ball, so any money I get is gone before I can blink, then another month goes by and the same monthly bills come in and I am right back behind the 8 ball again, which is terribly stressful.

People have said to write a book, which is something I definitely hope to do, but even IF it did sell, I am not going to make enough to live on and how do I support myself in the meantime?

It has been suggested I use one of the many fundraising sites on the net, and I have done that once a couple of years ago and made about $700. I hate to tell you all this, but people are much more apt to give to a cat who needs an operation than a woman who is trying to help other women who have been abused. Same applies to Kickstart, wanna produce a movie about fashion, travel or some other “fun” topic you will get 200% funding in record time. I have gone over their old projects to see which ones got funded and which ones didn’t. Topics like homelessness or domestic abuse do not get funded, they are depressing and I think that the majority of society still feels the victims of either are in the position they are because of their own mistakes and poor planning.

I don’t even know what I would ask to be funded for, I know I want to do a program for young girls to learn to value themselves and set and protect boundaries for themselves; but I don’t feel I have the education needed to do it properly. The course I wanted to take taught exactly that; how to give a workshop and how to train other people. I would have to ask for living expenses and school costs which would run $30,000. I just don’t see me raising that much.

My schooling has not been officially denied and I might get in for the April 7th start date but that is a big maybe and I will not survive until April. I keep getting further and further behind and I just can’t keep asking for donations. My mom has said she can’t help me any more, my brother is in a different position than he was, and my son has his own responsibilities. I simply cannot live off of the generosity of other people all the time. It is too hard on my pride, too stressful and it is not sustainable. I thought it was an interim thing, but it has become a lifestyle and it is time to make some decisions. Many of the women who have blogs of this nature have husbands. I am not saying they don’t need the money as much as anyone but they are not facing eviction and not doing it all alone. I don’t have any safety net.

The woman who owns the house I was buying has some friends coming to see it this Saturday. I just have a feeling she has it sold and I am going to have to move. I don’t know where I will find a place that will take a big dog and I will be lucky to get one for under $700 a month, I only get $610 on welfare so that would mean giving up Stella, all my furniture and finding a flop house for $350-$400 a month, where you rent a bedroom and share a kitchen. Sorry, it won’t happen. I don’t know what I will do for work, anything I can find whether I can physically or not because I would rather die than give up Stella and live like that.

I know all the suggestions people will have and I have tried them all, painting is great for a little side income but I can not live on it. I am presently painting Christmas ornaments that I will be selling year round from my Etsy shop but I am just trying to build up some stock right now and even so it is not a “job”, they were really popular this Christmas and I was told I could be asking much more for them but once again what people say they would pay and what they will pay are two different things.

My biggest problem right now is; do I leave the blog up and block comments? that way the information is up but I don’t have to worry about trolls infiltrating the blog. I thought about asking for volunteers to man the blog but I hate to hand over control when my name is so tied to it so I would still have to oversee it. If there are no posts it would die a slow death, slowly dropping lower in the rankings. Right now my blog comes up in the first 10 results when “narcissist” is Googled, the fewer people who come the lower in the rankings the blog goes and I really  hate to let it die a slow sad death. I just don’t know what to do about it.

Part of me feels I am giving up on a dream but realistically a dream is great but it doesn’t pay the rent, I gave it a good run, I put my all into it and maybe it is time to let it go. I keep thinking I am giving up and I could be so close, what if my funding does come through, my education was going to work in conjunction with the blog. But if it is impossible for me to survive until April and I can’t look for work, work and do the blog. Some people do, but it is not in my nature to do anything 1/2 assed. I know me and I know I would spend days on it like I have been and I would feel I was letting people down if I didn’t reply to comments etc.

Another part of me is so angry I could spit nails. The government has had me jump through hoops for almost a year and not one of the carrots they dangled proved fruitful. I get a very strong feeling I have been “pacified” by having me collect information for this and fill out these forms, visit these schools, wasting MY time and MY money on a wild goose chase thinking it will shut me up for a while and eventually I will roll over and give up.

BC has the highest rate of domestic violence in all of Canada, yet hardly any resources to help the victims. A million dollars a day goes into the downtown eastside of Vancouver, The Sun Newspaper added up all the services in the DTES and there are 260 agencies providing services in that one small area of Vancouver. There are 18,500 people living in he dtes with 6500 of them on welfare. When they figured it out per person it worked out to each person receiving $55,000 per year in services such as affordable rentals, mental health, addictions, etc.  DTES is just a small section of Vancouver let alone BC. I am angry that if I was a hooker or a heroin addict on the DTES I would have a new apartment to live in and all my needs taken care of and they would be thrilled to educate me. But because I have always been an upstanding citizen, taxpayer and not a threat to society the government doesn’t have the money to help me.

Welfare allots $375/month for rent, yet in the welfare office is a list of affordable rentals in the area and there is nothing for less than $550 and they say that my rent is too high to get school funding. They say it would be ideal if I could find a place that was about $500 a month including utilities; I agree, if they could find me a place I would live there. it doesn’t exist.

I am totally discouraged with the process of trying to get funded to go to school, no matter what answer I give, no matter how clearly I explain the benefits to educating me, or how I justify my expenses they are never happy. They have me fill out forms to prove I can not do the work I used to do and now they are concerned I am not physically able to sit in a class room all day but they denied me disability benefits. I provided them with all the info they requested and then they ask me the same questions, I doubt anyone even read my funding package. They are willing to pay for an education I can’t use and pay my living expenses for 52 weeks instead of paying for me to attend a “Life Skills Coaching” program because they don’t like the name Life Skills Coach and they are afraid there won’t be any job openings for a life skills coach. YET all of the government statistics predict a steady increase in the need for life skill coaches well past 2020. I get so frustrated with the idiocy of it all I want to tell them all to stick it where the sun don’t shine. I have no tolerance for ignorance and people who insult my intelligence. I have worked from the age of 12, and always worked, always paid taxes, I owed homes and paid property taxes, I was a business owner and paid taxes. If they found a dog living in the conditions I lived for over a year, they would remove the dog and charge the owner with animal neglect. But that is the whole problem, that is why they have the high rate of domestic abuse in BC, because women are not respected and not deemed worthy of help.

It is just another form of abuse in my eyes, another instance of ignoring the facts and proof that my needs and the needs of all abused women are not a priority.

I really have to stop talking about it because I end up getting so stressed and angry.