Month follows month, winter turns into summer and still Toronto’s homeless shelters continue to operate in conditions of shameless and appalling overcrowding. More than three months have elapsed since the 124 bed Hope Shelter in the City’s west end closed its doors and no replacement facility has been found. Next month, City Council will consider proposals to relocate hundreds of beds on George Street, in the downtown east, with the odds massively stacked against replacement locations being established in the central area. A deliberate drive to socially cleanse the homeless population and push them to fringes is underway.
REQUEST FOR ENDORSEMENTS: What is Wrong with the City of Toronto’s “George Street Revitalization Project”?Submitted by ocap on Fri, 08/07/2015 - 17:55.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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…
Today we marched through the Downtown East End. We got to the Distillery District and were told it was closed. We made our way inside anyways to find hundreds of rich people hanging out, eating dinner and shopping. The police continue to protect the rich while poor people go hungry and die in the streets.
More updates to come.
We marched because we believe:
- all of us should have decent, affordable, accessible housing.
- the massive expenditure of public resources for the Pan Am Games when we are told that there is no money for housing, shelters or social assistance shows that governments can find resources if they want to.
- the targeted policing of poor people and communities of colour is wrong and that social cleansing and police brutality must end.
- if $3.8 million can be spent on lighting a bridge for the Pan Am Games, money can be found to replace the 124 beds lost by the closure of the Hope Shelter.
- sports provide fun and rewarding experiences for people of all ages and athletic resources should go to recreation programs rather than elite level competitions.
- if 10,000 people can be housed in the athlete’s village, more than 243 units can be turned into affordable housing after the Games.
- in social justice and fighting to win.
The Mayor’s Office in Toronto is today occupied by a much slicker operation than it was during the years of dysfunctional, bigoted buffoonery that unfolded under Rob Ford. Mayor John Tory has resumed the drive toward a fully fledged neoliberal city but has the basic political skills to frame his twin agendas of austerity and upscale redevelopment in the language of inclusiveness. He has been sufficiently proficient at this to rapidly create what Michael Laxer has termed an “austerity consensus” supported by the overwhelming majority of the Council, including its left wing.
The agenda of the developers with regard to the central part of Toronto is to complete the creation of an interwoven hive of business, commerce, upscale recreation and high end housing. Standing in the way of this are enduring pockets of housed poverty and a considerable and growing homeless population. Those without housing, very understandably, have tended to gravitate toward the centre of the city and, over many years, shelters and other services have developed in this area. This situation is resented by those working for upscale redevelopment and not only because visible destitution impacts property values and ‘quality of life’ for those with the money to pay for it. It is also the case that the shelters, drop-ins and service agencies that homeless people turn to are located in areas that the forces of gentrification are laying claim to.
Rally & March Thurday July 16
5 PM St James Park
(King St east of Church St)
Accessibility Van to follow march
- Housing for All
- More Shelter Beds
- End Gentrification
- End Targeted & Racist Policing
On July 16, as the Games are underway, we will be marching to put forward the demands of communities impacted by poverty and a lack of decent, affordable housing. If there is money to spend on circuses, then the resources can be found to end the need for food banks, tackle the mounting problem of homelessness and ensure that everyone has decent, affordable and accessible housing.