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 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.

OCAP Occupies Sheraton Hotel to Protest Closure of Shelter Spaces and Gentrification! #HomelessSheraton

Image description: Two OCAP members hold a banner saying "FIGHT TO WIN" in the middle of a hotel lobby. Next to them, another OCAP member is holding an orange sign reading "REPLACE THE HOPE SHELTER". In the background, a security officer looks on nervously

Today, members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty occupied the lobby of the posh Sheraton Centre Hotel (123 Queen Street West, just west of Queen and York, across from City Hall)! We held the lobby for nearly an hour before being pushed out under threat of arrest.

Invisible Austerity: An Illustrated Guide to Cuts to Social Assistance in Ontario

This comic explains the invisible austerity program that the Liberals have implemented, attacking poor people in this province. It goes through social assistance rules cut by cut and shows how things have gotten worse under the Liberals. It shows how poor people have lost important benefits and how Kathleen Wynne has no right to call herself "The Social Justice Pemier"

Click here to read the comic

OCAP Delegation to Metro Hall to Demand City Replace Shelter Beds Lost by Closing the Hope Shelter

Image description: Photo taken from inside Metro Hall. Two Toronto police officers in yellow jackets stand near the front entrance, barring entry to OCAP members assembled outside

OCAP took a strong delegation to Metro Hall today (March 30) to demand that the City open space immediately to replace the 124 beds for the homeless that will be lost because of the closing of the Hope Shelter. The last person will have to move out of there tomorrow.