UPDATE: OCAP Wins Fight for 24 Hour Women and Trans* Drop-In Spaces! All Charges Against November 25 Arrestees Withdrawn!

Dear friends and allies,

Today we are happy to announce two important updates on the fight for 24 hour women and trans* drop-ins in Toronto:

1) Most importantly, we have WON 24 hour drop-ins in Toronto! Funds for the women & trans* drop-ins were passed during this year’s budget process. The 2015 Operating Budget for shelter, housing and support, as approved by City Council last week, includes new funding of $2,250,000 in 2015 for new 24 hour drop-in services for women and trans* people, increasing to $3,000,000 in 2016 and beyond. Spaces are confirmed and it is only a matter of weeks before we will see the drop-ins opened (more info on specific opening dates and locations to be sent out soon). We are proud of the work we have done and what we accomplished together with our allies during this collective struggle. We have drawn attention to the violence that street involved women face and the need for increased services for people who are homeless in Toronto. This is an important victory - services like these save lives.

2) This morning all charges were withdrawn against all 5 OCAP women who took part in the action on November 25th. In return the women agreed to provide 30 hours of community service.

Andrew McLean Case Update

EMERGENCY ACTION TOMORROW (MARCH 4, 12PM, 900 BAY ST): DEMAND HOUSING FOR ANDREW MCLEAN AND AN END TO THE S.A.M.S. FIASCO!

TOMORROW! JOIN OCAP'S DELEGATION TO THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES! DEMAND HOUSING FOR ANDREW AND AN END TO THE ONGOING SAMS FIASCO!

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4
12:00PM

OCAP Supports CUPE 3902 and CUPE 3903!

Emergency Action: Phone/Email the Minister Today, Prevent a Man from Being Made Homeless Due to SAMS Errors!

Phone/Email the Ministry Today (info below)

A 53 year old man with numerous health issues, including an upcoming double bypass surgery, Andrew McLean, is about to be evicted because of an ODSP computer error. Since the rollout of the Social Assistance Management System (SAMS) computer system last autumn, Andrew has seen his life turned upside down. Like many Ontarians on social assistance and disability, due to “glitches” in the new system, Andrew received his cheque late. His landlord initiated eviction proceedings against him based on "late payment of rent," and won an eviction order at the Landlord Tenant Board for Saturday, February 28.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services has acknowledged that they are to blame for this fiasco. Andrew’s worker has written several letters stating that they are working on fixing issues like these with SAMS. This hasn’t happened and shows no sign of happening soon. The Ministry has refused to do anything other than say "we’re working on it," while a man who needs significant and pressing medical help is left worrying about where he will sleep Sunday night.

This has had a very negative impact on Mr. McLean, who says: “It’s running me down, I feel tired all the time, I get chest pains and headaches because I don’t know what to do. It’s been an incredible stress. I can’t live my regular routine due to stress like this. And nobody can give me a straight answer about how to fix this, a straight answer about where I am supposed to live!”

We refuse to accept half-hearted excuses and apologies from the very Ministry that put Andrew in this situation in the first place. OCAP demands:

• That the Ministry prevent this eviction or, failing that, take on the responsibility of finding Andrew affordable, accessible and secure housing, given that they are the ones responsible for him facing the prospect of homelessness.

• That the SAMS experiment be deemed a failure, and that all OW/ODSP recipients impacted by it resume receiving benefits in the same manner and amount as prior to its rollout

The Ministry of Community and Social Services is responsible for the fact that Andrew is facing homelessness, and no excuses or stalling can change that fact. If Andrew isn’t housed immediately, join OCAP on Wednesday, March 4 at 12:00PM at the Macdonald block of Ontario Government Buildings (900 Bay, just past Wellesley) where OCAP will confront the MCSS and demand housing for Andrew, along with a repeal of SAMS, ensuring benefits are available to all Ontarians who need them, regardless of whatever computer system the province decides to use. We won't accept any more passing of the buck, just give us what we are owed!

STEP 1: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26 - CALL, EMAIL OR TWEET TO THE MINISTERS INVOLVED

MINISTER OF COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES
Dr. Helena Jaczek
hjaczek.mpp@liberal.ola.org
Ministry phone: 416-325-5225
Constituency phone: 905-294-4931
Twitter: @HelenaJaczek

MINISTER OF HOUSING AND MUNICIPALITIES
Ted McMeekin
tmcmeekin.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
Ministry phone: 416-585-7000
Constituency phone: 905-690-6552
Twitter: @TedMcMeekin