Open Letter to Toronto City Councilors on the Closure and Relocation of Shelter Beds

Image description: Black and white photo of OCAP member sitting down in front of the Mayor's Office at City Hall. One member holds a sign reading SHELTER NOW with a drawing of a building on it

October 6, 2015

To Mayor John Tory and the Members of Toronto City Council:

The Daily Shelter Census continues to show that the policy you have adopted of keeping shelter occupancy at a level of 90% or less is simply being disregarded. City figures also show that an alarming spike in the number of deaths among those in shelters has taken place this year, with 23 deaths reported in the first five months, compared to 30 during all of last year.

In this context of worsening and lethal crisis, we are also dealing with the appalling situation where existing shelter space is threatened. The 124 bed Hope Shelter at College and McCaul closed in April and no replacement has been found. The 60 bed Second Base Youth Shelter, close to Kennedy and Eglington, is set to close.


Image description: OCAP members drape a red and yellow banner reading "WE WILL NOT BE PUSHED OUT: More Shelter and Housing Now!" across the roof of the old Hope Shelter. Below them, at street level, other OCAP members hold a yellow OCAP banner


Tuesday, November 3
Toronto City Hall (Bay and Queen)
Food will be provided

OCAP Shuts Down Yonge & Dundas! #shelterforall

Image description: OCAP members hold a red and yellow banner reading "WE WILL NOT BE PUSHED OUT: More Shelter and Housing Now!" across an intersection crosswalk. To their right, a woman holds a black sign reading GENTRIFICATION above her head and to their left, a streetlight with a blue Yonge Street sign atop it

OCAP Shuts Down Yonge & Dundas, Demanding Immediate Action to End Toronto's Shelter Crisis!

Earlier today (September 21), members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) blocked traffic for over 40 minutes at Canada's busiest intersection, during the lunch hour rush. Earlier in the day, we staged a rally and meal at Toronto City Hall and marched up to Yonge and Dundas as it concluded. Upon reaching Yonge-Dundas Square, a few dozen activists, allies and supporters rushed into the street and began laying flowers and memorial signs around the perimeter of the intersection, preventing traffic from moving by blocking lanes. Speeches were made and banners unfurled mere meters away from the bus shelter where a man froze to death in January of this year.

Open Letter to Mayor John Tory Regarding Toronto's Shelter Crisis

Image description: A chain link fence in the foreground has a banner hung on it saying "NO MORE HOMELESS DEATHS", while in the background a large red brick building has a banner hung from its roof reading "HOUSING NOW"

September 18, 2015

Mayor Tory,

You will doubtless remember the homeless deaths that happened in this City at the beginning of the year. At the time, promises were made to reduce the level of overcrowding but nothing of the kind has happened. If we look at the latest Daily Shelter Census, issued by the City, we see an (understated) overall occupancy figure of 95%, with the men’s system running at 96% and the women’s at 97%. We must presume there is simply no intention of complying with the 90% policy that Council has adopted.

OCAP Occupies the Former Hope Shelter, Kicking Off #Shelterforall Campaign!

Image description: 3 OCAP members in orange safety vests stand on the roof of a brick building after hanging a banner reading "WE WON'T BE PUSHED OUT: More Shelter and Housing Now!"


Today, September 18, OCAP members occupied the roof of the former Hope Shelter at College and McCaul Street, to protest the loss of 124 shelter beds due to Hope's closure and to draw attention to the ongoing crisis in the city's shelter system.

Appeal to Allies for September 21 Rally for Shelters

Image description: Signs and banners bearing the names of people who have died on the streets of Toronto are attached to a red brick building during an OCAP action in November, 2014

OCAP Needs Support and Solidarity in its September Action to Challenge Social Cleansing of Toronto's Homeless

Rally for Shelters event page on

The Executive Committee of Toronto City Council is being asked to endorse a plan to move hundreds of homeless beds out of the City's downtown east. If they go ahead and close the shelters on George Street, the chances are overwhelming that such replacements as are found will be located in outlying areas. The 124 bed Hope Shelter at College and McCaul closed in April and no replacement has yet been found.

RALLY TO DEFEND SHELTER SPACE! Monday, Sept. 21, 12PM, City Hall

Image description: black and white image of a shelter bed and a park bench with an OCAP logo positioned between the two, with text reading RALLY FOR SHELTERS beneath it

Monday, September 21
12:00PM, City Hall (Bay & Queen)
Transportation from Dundas and Sherbourne at 11:30AM
Accessibility van & ASL interpretation provided

Help Fund OCAP's Fight Back!

REQUEST FOR ENDORSEMENTS: What is Wrong with the City of Toronto’s “George Street Revitalization Project”?

Image description: black and white photo of a sign above the entrance to Seaton House. It reads "Seaton Houses only three kinds of men: somebody's father, son or brother"

Sign on to this statement! Demand the City of Toronto enforce its own shelter standards and prevent the ongoing gentrification of the Downtown! To add your organization to the list of endorsers, email or via Facebook and Twitter.


Seaton House on George Street is the City’s largest men’s shelter. In 2013, over 3,000 men used one of the 540 beds there. The GSRP proposes to turn Seaton House into a long-term care home, emergency shelter, assisted living residence and service hub. There are serious concerns about Seaton House and its conditions but the ‘revitalization’ is a bad idea because…

OCAP Issues Statement on City of Toronto's "T.O. Prosperity" Poverty Reduction Strategy


OCAP members picket the Liberal poverty reduction consultation in 2013. In the foreground, a person holds a sign reading "Talk is Cheap - Yours is Worthless"

‘Poverty reduction’ is, of course, nothing new to any of us. The Provincial Liberals have kept this farce up for a truly astounding number of years, even as they imposed great levels of poverty, inequality and austerity on communities throughout the Province.

There is really no need to engage in any major examination of the City’s document for the simple reason that it is fluff. It lays out a ‘strategy’ that consists of pious hopes and meaningless statements of intent while,at the same time, carefully avoiding the very issues that could and should be addressed at the municipal level in order to challenge poverty. It proposes, for example, to work to ‘enhance investments in repairs to existing social housing’. The last federal and provincial budgets set aside not one penny for this purpose. What strategy is suggested to overcome this scandalous state of affairs? None at all because no one seriously expects this ‘goal’ to pursued.

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