$3.8 million to light up the Bloor Viaduct for the Pan Am Games?

January 21, 2015

To Executive Committee of Toronto City Council:

Along with many others in this City, we would like to express our outrage that some $3.8 million will be allocated to light up the Bloor Viaduct for the Pan Am Games.

Recently, three homeless men died on the streets of this City and another perished as he sought respite from the cold at the Peter Street Referral Centre. The waiting list for housing stands at close to 170,000 people while those struggling to obtain or retain a place to live are routinely denied access to the Housing Stabilization Fund by Toronto Social Services offices. Tens of thousands of people in this City turn to food banks in order to survive.

Recently, the community had to take action to ensure there were a few more spaces in the homeless shelter system and to win the belated opening of long promised drop in space for homeless women and trans people. Yet, when the circus comes to town and a privileged few stand to make a killing, money is no object and millions can be allocated for something so tacky as the lighting up a bridge.

We call on you to kill the lights on the Bloor Viaduct. Instead, we demand you use the $3.8 million to open up TCHC units that are now standing empty because lack of repair has made them uninhabitable while tens of thousands wait for a decent place to live. To proceed with this obscene misuse of public resources will be an insult to communities living in poverty that we shall have no alternative to respond to.

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

Safe Space Now! Shelter and Housing for All!

Tuesday, November 25th @ 12noon
*Rally, Meal and Action
George Hislop Park north end: Charles St (between Yonge and Church)
Click here for a map

Join the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and allies this coming November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to fight for:

  • 24 Hour women and trans drop-ins NOW
  • Open Shelters: real beds, not flex beds!
  • Safe, affordable, and accessible HOUSING FOR ALL!

Messages of Solidarity from some of our allies in Quebec & Britain-

"The tenants of the working class neighbourhoods in the Southwest of Montréal are with you in spirit on November 25th for your important day of action in defense of street-associated populations. We'll be tweeting John Tory to let him know that in Toronto and elsewhere, the private market can never meet the needs of tenants, and that many eyes are watching him!

In solidarity,
Fred Burrill, Organisateur communautaire
POPIR-Comité Logement"

"DPAC are sending solidarity to comrades in OCAP campaigning to save the lives of homeless people who are being denied shelter in freezing winter temperatures by rich politicians and bureaucrats. We will be joining in your campaign via twitter and highlighting the problems faced in Canada as well as in the UK"

Stepped Up ODSP Medical Reviews Will Mean Improper Denial and Needless Hardship

We are circulating the statement below for endorsement by agencies, anti-poverty groups, unions, and other allies. Please forward it widely.
To add your name to the list of endorsing organizations, please contact Parkdale Community Legal Services 416-531-2411 ext. 248 or webberc@lao.on.ca

We are encouraging groups to take up this issue as part of the
Raise the Rates provincial Week of Action, Oct. 13-17
For more information:
email raisetheratescampaign@gmail.com
visit raisetherates.ca
like Raise the Rates on Facebook

Stepped Up ODSP Medical Reviews Will Mean Improper Denial and Needless Hardship

Does the City Value the Lives of Homeless Women?

OCAP Delegation Delivers Strong Message to City Hall:

August 25th, 2014

To Members of Council and City Staff,

We are here today to ask an important question and to deliver a message.

Do the lives of homeless women matter in the City of Toronto?

We ask this question as every day we face the reality of violence against women in our City. This violence is even more acute for women who don't have a place to live or a safe place to go especially at night.

In June, Council approved the recommendation from Community Development and Recreation Committee that the City move forward with the process for establishing two 24 hour drop-in centres for street-involved women. The community was hopeful in this decision, and for a brief time, we celebrated. But instead of seeing this process move forward this fall, we now face a delay until after elections and until 2015. This is despite the fact that Council and Committee gave direction to staff to move forward this year. To us in the community, this delay is unacceptable. We need safe space now.

24 Hour Drop-ins for Women in Toronto Shamefully Delayed; Important update about August 6th Budget Committee

After repeated sexual assaults on homeless women on the streets of Toronto and while the City shelter system for women in particular is in crisis and operating beyond capacity – women from the community fought to end the violence and for access to safe space.

In a report by City staff the call for two, 24-hour/after-hours drop-ins was supported by Shelter, Support & Housing as well as the Community Development and Recreation committee.

On June 10th, City Council supported the recommendation and voted to begin the process to create these drop-ins. City staff from Shelter Support and Housing Administration Staff were directed to present the funding needed to the upcoming budget committee on August 6 so that at least one space could be ready by the end of this year.

Despite the serious nature of this issue, City staff will not present its report on August 6. The issue of 24 hour drop-ins for women will NOT be on the agenda – deputations, therefore, are cancelled.

It remains unclear at this point what is to happen in order to move the development of this service forward. We are currently working to try to clarify information on this bureaucratic process, and as soon as we have further information we will send that out. However, what we do know is that August 6th is the last Budget Committee meeting, and August 25th is the last Council meeting – if this does come to the floor in August, because of the elections, the issue could be left until sometime in 2015 to proceed and become realized.

Our position is that delays cannot be accepted – money needs to be found and this issue needs to move forward IMMEDIATELY.