In ain’t easy being poor.
Most of us know that, but we don’t live it on a daily basis.
A recent community development grad from Acadia University, Laura Fisher, did a deep dive on that reality for her honours thesis.
Last month the Wolfville resident gave a talk at Kentville town hall about what she discovered about discrimination in 10 in-depth interviews with single mothers.
With over 8,000 babies born each year in this province, Fisher would like to feel they get a better welcome, but many landlords don’t want to rent to parents with children.
Housing is a huge challenge for single mothers especially. The topic came up 60 times in her interviews. She adds she was hearing about discrimination compounded by race, class and socioeconomic status.
“That’s the largest marker of whether you’re welcome or not,” Fisher noted.
In a world with SUV strollers, stigma is readily determined by what you push your infant in. Strollers today are a status symbol, The single mother said.
Worse than that those who can’t find adequate housing can’t get affordable, healthy food, Fisher added. Breast feeding is still not commonly accepted.
“They all impact each other,” the single mother explained of the issues. “Being poor is exhausting. You have to be self advocating.”
Poor mothers told her they are often not welcome in Kentville’s Centre Square, but Fisher praised family programming at Oakdene Park. She even heard of mothers whose use of public benches downtown was questioned.
Earlier this month it was announced that Fisher had been awarded the Andrée Boucher Memorial Scholarship by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities at its annual conference in Quebec.
On June 13 Fisher gave a talk on welcoming moms and babies at the Box of Delights Bookshop in Wolfville. The recipient of a SSHRC Graduate Studies Award, she is going to continue her studies this fall at Acadia.