“Sometimes, working at the Storefront, you get a file with as many papers as a good-sized novel. In the case of Ms D, this was because our staff and volunteers had been investigating the mystery of a bank account that the Welfare office was pointing to as a reason to reject Ms D’s application. But Ms D had no knowledge of this bank account and didn’t understand why Welfare was attributing it to her.
The mountain of paperwork came from the efforts of the Storefront to map out Ms D’s financial history. Complicating our efforts was the fact that Ms D is an elderly lady with a tenuous grasp of English and French. Thanks to the patience and diligence of our team we were able to piece together the puzzle that was this welfare application. After multiple calls to family members, we realized that the bank account in fact belonged to her niece and was mistakenly put on the welfare application. By contacting Ms D’s bank and her welfare agent, we were able to correct the error and Ms D began receiving her welfare cheques, including retroactive payment for previous months.
The complexity of this case coupled with Ms D’s marginalized status as an elderly person without strong English or French language skills suggest that without our intervention, Ms D may never have received welfare. I was privileged to be the one to call her and give her the good news. I will never forget her ecstatic reply, ‘Thank you to Project Genesis, thank you to all the volunteers, thank you, thank you!'”
Menachem, Storefront advisor and student intern