Toronto’s Shelter Administration has released a report (http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2013/cd/bgrd/backgroundfile-64009.pdf) that they will present to the Community Development and Recreation Committee (the City’s Committee responsible for shelters) this coming Wednesday, December 4th. This report is coming just as winter sets in and the actions that are taken in response to it are critical in addressing the crisis in the shelters. We know that the yearly Out of the Cold program (temporary charity based beds) are already at 111% - this speaks volumes about the overcrowding and conditions in the regular shelters. Measures that are included in the report include:
1. Flex beds. In April, the City Council called for shelter occupancy to be kept at no more than 90%. The ongoing use of flex beds has been employed to this end. These are essentially mats put down on the floor in common areas within the shelters that were previously for emergency use but have now become a common feature. The use of this arrangement to claim a reduction in shelter capacity is highly misleading and problematic. It simply means that more people are being crammed into overcrowded shelters. We must demand that flex beds not be used to conceal the problem in this way and that additional space be opened.
2. The report says that some additional bed spaces within the existing system will have been opened by the time the Committee meets. 8 in the women’s shelters, 14 in the men’s and 8 for single refugees.
1)Nov.25th: Stop Violence Against Homeless Women - Rally and Press Conference on the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women
2) Dec.4th: Open Shelters Now! We return to City Hall as the issue of shelters comes up once again at Committee. Breakfast, Rally and call for Deputations.
Important Update: Come out Monday, October 28th to demand action from the City of Toronto on Homeless SheltersSubmitted by ocap on Fri, 10/25/2013 - 18:10.
Monday, October 28th
Toronto City Hall - Committee Room 1
The City of Toronto has failed for 7 months to meet the 90% capacity
standard for Homeless Shelters that they adopted in the spring after
months of community action.
The issue of shelters was supposed to be on the Agenda for this Monday's
Community Development and Recreation Committee, but once again, the City
is delaying on the basis that a 'report is not ready to be delivered by
Thursday, October 10th, 2013.
Urgent Action Needed: Women's Shelter Crisis Risks Lives and Safety
Where: Metro Hall, 6th Floor, 55 John St.
On Sunday, September 22, 2013, between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m., a homeless woman
was sitting on some steps in the Dundas Street East and Sherbourne Street
area. She was sexually assaulted by two different men that same night.
Homeless women in this city are subjected to violence and dangerous
conditions with nowhere to turn for shelter or support. For too many
women, seeking out a shelter bed on any given night is a futile act as
there are no beds in the system. Specially designated ‘Violence Against
Women’ shelters, mandated to provide safe spaces for women fleeing
violence, are often full. Women looking for shelter are told to wait at
Peter Street for beds that do not materialize. Sometimes they are even
turned away from Peter St. due to overcrowding.
The city’s shelters are overcrowded and the crisis of homelessness is
continuing to worsen. It is certain that the colder weather will only make
this situation even more desperate. City Council voted to bring shelter
occupancy rates down to 90% but they have failed to keep their promise.
Instead of taking real action, the city has thrown some mats on floors of
shelters, called them ‘flex beds’ and hoped that would stop the public
outcry about shelter overcrowding.
Above, Picture of Drina's House in the 1960's
Sign on to the Statement of Demands here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/625/318/647/expropriate-230-sherbourne-dr...
On Sunday, September 22, about 250 members and supporters of OCAP, including a contingent of our comrades from Montreal, marched out of Allan Gardens in the opening action of the Taking it Back Campaign in Toronto’s Downtown East.
The community in which OCAP is based is under attack by the twin agendas of austerity driven social cutbacks and upscale urban redevelopment. Homeless shelters are full and the Seaton House hostel is threatened with the loss of over 400 beds. Low income housing stock in the neighbourhood has been lost on a huge scale and thousands of local people are part of a city wide waiting list for affordable housing that numbers over 165,000.
The Taking it Back Campaign will fight for adequate shelter space and for decent and accessible housing. It will demand that the buildings in the area that have been boarded up and left empty be expropriated by the City and turned into social housing. This has already been done in Parkdale with the building at 1495 Queen West and we demand it happen in the east end on a bigger scale.