A financial crisis in New Brunswick

Separations and break ups are extremely hard for people, especially when they involve financial, housing and legal issues. 211 Service Navigators are available 24 hours to help people find the government and community services that they need when they are facing difficult transitions in their lives.

A 211 Service Navigator received a call from a woman who sounded very emotional and was crying on the phone. She said that she was separated, but thought she should be able to receive her portion of Canada Pension benefits from her husband, as she had a very low income. She said that she would like to have legal advice on this and support with the application at Service Canada. She also stated that she needed a more affordable rent and could barely make ends meet.

The Service Navigator listened and showed empathy for the caller’s situation. She validated the caller’s emotions of feeling overwhelmed with the process of applying for government programs and not making ends meet. After the caller had talked about how she felt about the situation, the Service Navigator probed as to what kind of help she felt that she specifically needed and what she had done in her situation so far. She said she did not know where to start and had not done anything yet. She was open to receiving any type of referrals.

She was provided with information on a program for women, which gives a free hour of legal aid. The woman was also given information on the Outreach Centre of Service Canada for the Atlantic Region, which helps vulnerable people to access programs with Service Canada and gives assistance with navigating their programs. As well, she was told about subsidized housing and how to put her name on a waiting list for a subsidized apartment.

The caller sounded calmer by the end of the call. The Service Navigator wanted to make sure that she received the services that she needed, so she offered a follow-up call. The caller politely declined; she felt better now that she knew where to begin and that she would call back if she still needed assistance in the future. She thanked the Service Navigator for taking the time to help her. The Service Navigator welcomed her to call back at any time.