PORT HOPE SIMPSON, NL — Wavey Ward is scared she soon could be homeless.
The Port Hope Simpson single mother and grandmother says the provincial government has been withholding her financial support since Sept. 1.
Now, she’s struggling to pay her bills and rent.
Ward has epilepsy, other health issues, and a learning disability, all of which prevent her from being employed.
She has four children and an infant grandchild. Two of her school-aged children and the grandchild live with her.
Financial assistance from the province helps her provide for her children and pay for her rent, medicines and other bills.
According to Ward, her problems started when she didn’t receive her cheque on Sept. 16.
After approximately a week, she called her social worker in Happy Valley-Goose Bay about the missing payment and says she was given a “run around.”
About three weeks later, still without payment, she called back and was told a form had been sent to her in the mail in June. Because she hadn’t completed the form, her financial support was being withheld.
But Ward claims she never received the form.
“I don’t know if it got misplaced, but I told them I never got it,” Ward told the Northern Pen.
She looked around her home, just in case, but confirmed she didn’t have the form.
The social worker ended up faxing a copy to the local clinic.
Ward says she completed the form and sent it back to the social worker. But now she’s being told they need information about her grandson, which she did not provide.
Her eldest daughter, Selina, lives in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and has now delivered the completed form to the office there.
As of Wed. Nov. 8, Ward was awaiting approval and hoping to receive word soon that she’ll receive her payment.
However, because of the difficulties with mailing this form, she has already been without financial support for over two months.
She stays at a Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation unit and says she’s received two letters already because she’s behind on her rent.
“I’m behind on all my bills, I hardly got any groceries in the house,” added Ward. “It’s a hard battle.”
The Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour told the Northern Pen it could not comment on individual cases, such as Ward’s, for privacy reasons.
In its statement, the department said it works with individuals to ensure they understand the types of information they may need to provide the department to determine eligibility for programs and services.
“Staff are available to help individuals who are applying for or receiving services from the department,” the statement read. “For assistance, individuals may visit a department office in their region or call for assistance, toll-free, including after-hours.”