Coast Salish Territory, Surrey BC – Jagrup Brar is starting New Year’s Day 2011 on the streets looking for shelter and a warm meal as he begins the MLA Welfare Challenge. Brar, MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood, will have just $610, the welfare rate for an individual, to cover his expenses of housing, food, personal hygiene, transit and other expenses. His month of poverty began at Surrey Central Skytain at 11am New Year’s Day.
Lending Brar moral support at a media briefing were several dozen supporters including family members Rajwant (wife), Noor, Fateh (children) and sister-in-law Baljit Brar. Raise the Rates and a number of Surrey Partners will work together to provide and advise. They will ensure he has a valuable and insightful experience, learning first hand about poverty, inequality and “being on welfare.”
Raise the Rate’s statement on Jagrup’s Brar’s month living on welfare rates: “Raise the Rates recognizes Jagrup Brar’s commitment in living on only $610 for one month. We also realize that this will not be the same experience as a person who actually lives on welfare. He will start the challenge in good health and with adequate clothes; and his month on welfare rates will end after a month.”