Issues of violence against women have been getting a lot more attention in the news than usual in the past few weeks. In these conversations you sometimes hear reference to survivors as ‘educated’ or as ‘public figures’. The media emphasis on the class standing of survivors implies that certain lives and stories of violence are more ‘believable’ (just barely) – while others can be more easily dismissed.
November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. For the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty it marks one year since the demand for a 24 hour women and trans drop-in was launched in Toronto. This followed the assault of a homeless woman, twice in one night, while sleeping on some steps at the corner of Dundas and Sherbourne. That incident, and the subsequent reaction by many (including police) to dismiss the woman, assuming she was ‘trading sex for drugs’ - is sadly not shocking and all too common for women on the streets.
Friday, February 1st
Metro Hall, 55 John St. (King and John)
In the past week there have been two homeless deaths in Toronto– that
makes 36 in one year alone (that we know about)! This comes at a time
when the City of Toronto and the Province have both cut funding to
homeless prevention programs, shelters, and housing. These cuts cost
lives. Shelters are already overcrowded and there is a chronic lack of
supports and housing. Join us on Friday to demand that the City
immediately release contingency funding for shelters, reverse the cuts
to shelters and housing, make it easier for people to access the
Housing Stabilization Fund (the replacement to Community Start-Up),
and stop lying to the public about space in the shelter system and
instead take action to end homeless deaths!
**We are calling on organizations and individuals to please sign-on to the the statement of demands to the City. This Statement is below. On Friday we will be delivering this.
To endorse this statement and to get involved, please contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org / 416-925-6939
We previously reported how, on October 3, an OCAP delegation went to the head offices of Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) to challenge a huge injustice the family was facing. Nadir Ali was living by himself in Canada after arriving here from Sudan and he obtained a bachelor TCH unit. When his wife and child were able to join him, they had no option but to live together in an overcrowded situation. TCH took the position that only Nadir could stay and that the other two family members would have to go to a homeless shelter until, at some point in the future, a two bedroom unit became available. When the family refused to be separated, they were threatened with eviction and, then, a massive rent increase they could not possibly afford.
On October 3, a line of cops waited for us in front of the plush Rosedale headquarters of TCHC and its management refused to meet with anyone other than Nadir, denying him any representation. Despite this outrageous behaviour, TCHC did not carry out any of its threats and, last week, the family signed a lease of a two bedroom TCH unit in an area of their choice. The courage of these people and the support mobilized on their behalf made all the difference in keeping them housed and together as a family.
If you are having a problem with OW/ODSP, are being denied benefits,
are having trouble with your landlord or TCHC, give us a call:
416-925-6939 and let's fight back together.