November 30, 2023

Furniture Bank

Swing Your Furniture Bank

N.S. community organizations welcome cost of living relief from province – Halifax

Community organizations helping Nova Scotians who are struggling to make ends meet are welcoming a $115-million investment from the province that aims to address the high cost of living.

They say any assistance is a relief, but are also calling for more support as prices continue to spike for groceries, gas and other essentials.

The Salvation Army says it always sees an increase in demand ahead of the holidays and as the cold weather settles in.

Read more:

N.S. to give one-time $250 grant to families on income assistance over rising inflation

But Major Vaden Vincent, the executive director of the Salvation Army Centre of Hope in Halifax, says this year the need is great as prices and inflation soar.

“People are really struggling and people are having to make some serious choices about ‘Do I spend money on Christmas right now with kids’ or ‘Do I pay towards my light bill or do I buy groceries?’” Vincent says.

Story continues below advertisement

He says it’s good news the province is boosting the Heating Assistance Rebate from $200 to $1,000 this year and providing food banks with an extra $3 million.

Feed Nova Scotia helps to keep the Salvation Army’s shelves stocked.

Major Vaden Vincent is the executive director of the Salvation Army Centre of Hope in Halifax.

Skye Bryden-Blom / Global News

However, Vincent says overall he’d like to see further government support for community organizations trying to keep up with demand. He says the Salvation Army is considering an up to a 20 per cent increase in its food budget.

“It seems like we always need more from individuals and that’s hard to say,” Vincent says. “We’re appreciative of what we’re getting but it seems like the need is just so great at this time of the year.”

Denise Daley, the executive director of Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank, agrees.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re trying to reduce poverty,” she says. “We want to help families as much as possible. Food security, heating and being comfortable, are two aspects that will definitely impact families.”

Click to play video: 'Food banks calling for game meat donations amid hunting season'

Food banks calling for game meat donations amid hunting season

Daley says she appreciates the extra funds now but hopes to see more investment in their programs in the future.

“Here at the food bank, you’re stretched for funds,” she says. “You try to help as many as you can. So I understand allotting that amount and trying to increase it and we just have to try and help as many as we can with what we have.”

Read more:

Nearly 700 people are homeless in Halifax, new statistics show

In a statement, the affordable energy coalition applauds the additional support from the government but wants to see more options considered for those experiencing energy poverty.

Story continues below advertisement

“The Affordable Energy Coalition has encouraged the government to consider creating a more systematic method of support for those living in energy poverty like the Ontario Electricity Support Program and still hopes this will be seriously considered in future years,” AEC chair Brian Gifford says.

“However, we strongly support this special assistance this year.”

&copy 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.