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NDP MLA Jagrup Brar accepted a challenge by Raise the Rates, a organization that fights for justice for people living in poverty, to live on the welfare rate of $610 for the month of January. Mr. Brar's first two weeks were spent in Surrey and the second phase of the challenge was spent in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.Mr. Brar learned first hand what it means to live in poverty. With less then $10 in his pocket and still days left before the month was up, he had to line up in meal lines and scrape the little food and money he had left to get through the month. "It is survival out here, you constantly think how you are going to get next meal," Mr. Brar said. From meetings with local residents to standing in meal lines and times of solitude as he sat writing his thoughts in his room The Globe and Mail's freelance photographer Rafal Gerszak captured intimate moments as Mr. Brar continued with his challenge. Discussing with Mr. Brar his journey he mentions how this experience made him a more humble, non-judgmental person.

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NDP MLA Jagrup Brar washes up in a communal bathroom in his SRO as he continues the second phase of the Raise the Rates' MLA Welfare Challenge in the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, January 22, 2012.

Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail/rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

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NDP MLA Jagrup Brar writes his thoughts in his SRO hotel while a drawing from his child and a map of the Downtown Eastside hang on the wall as he continues the second phase of the Raise the Rates' MLA Welfare Challenge in the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, January 22, 2012.

Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail/rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

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NDP MLA Jagrup Brar uses his belt to secure food while trying to keep it cold outside his window due to the refrigerator in his SRO not working as he continues the second phase of the Raise the Rates' MLA Welfare Challenge in the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, January 22, 2012.

Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail/rafal gerszak The Globe and Mailf

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NDP MLA Jagrup Brar eats a meal he worked for as a man shows off his rat in the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday, January 21, 2012. "It is survival out here, you constantly think how you are going to get next meal."

Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail/rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

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NDP MLA Jagrup Brar enters his room in an SRO as he continues the second phase of the Raise the Rates' MLA Welfare Challenge in the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, January 22, 2012.

Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail/rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

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Notes hang on the wall in the SRO hotel of NDP MLA Jagrup Brar from his two children as he continues the second phase of the Raise the Rates' MLA Welfare Challenge in the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver,, Sunday, January 22, 2012.

Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail/rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

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