Thursday, June 6, 2013
Where: corner of Dundas & Sherbourne
*Rain Location: St.Luke’s Church (Sherbourne/Carlton)
News broke recently that the Toronto Friendship Centre at the corner of Dundas/Sherbourne is slated to lose its funding from the City and be closed by the end of 2013. The Friendship Centre is a vital service that the local community has relied on for many years. It is a place where people go for early morning meals and coffee, a place to stay warm, a place to be safe - it is a life-line and staple community space. We cannot let the Friendship Centre close or be moved from the corner!
Come out June 6th for a Community BBQ and meeting to Save the Friendship Centre and talk about what we need in the Downtown East neighborhood.
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/652894171392409/
Download the poster here
ONTARIO COALITION AGAINST POVERTY
416-925-6939 / email@example.com
The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) has been challenging the overcrowded conditions in Toronto's shelter system. After months of community action, we have been able to win a commitment from the City that shelters will not go above 90% capacity. However, this has meant that they are putting down flex beds in crowded shelters instead of opening up new facilities.
We want to hear from you!
· If you have had trouble finding a bed, have been turned away from a shelter, or have had to put up with unsafe, stressful or overcrowded conditions - we want to hear from you!
· If you are a staff at a shelter or agency in the city and have had trouble finding someone a bed or have experienced the overcrowded conditions – we want to hear from you too!
We need your help to force the City to provide enough shelter space to ensure people have their right to safety and dignity respected.
Download the flyer here
Give us a call at (416) 925-6939 or e mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two Important upcoming events in the fight for decent
shelter space in the City of Toronto:
1) Rally and Outdoor Meal
Thursday, March 28 ~ 6.00 PM ~ Metro Hall, King and John
2) All Out to City Council
Wednesday, April 3rd ~ 9:30 PM ~ Toronto City Hall
Check Facebook for updates:
After weeks of determined community action to force the City to
respond to the crisis of overcrowding in its shelter system, the
Community Development and Recreation Committee met on March 18.
Dozens of powerful deputations were presented by those with experience
of homelessness, front line workers and advocates. Despite a staff
report still trying to suggest that the shelters were adequate, the
myth of a system that is coping with the needs of those on the streets
died on the floor of that committee room. Its members called on
Council to return to a policy of opening more shelter spaces when the
system reached 90% capacity but, astoundingly, recommended only that
172 'flex beds' be opened. This means putting down mats on the floor
of already overcrowded shelters and pushing capacity well beyond 96%.
At the same time, the church run Out-of-the-Cold program is set to
close at the end of March meaning more people will be looking for a
bed in even fewer spaces.
All Out to the Community Development and Recreation Committee Monday, March 18th 9 AM Toronto City HallSubmitted by ocap on Tue, 03/12/2013 - 19:32.
*Gathering outside the main doors at 9 AM with Coffee and snacks
*See below on how to sign-up to speak
On Monday, March 18th we will be going back to City Hall to the
Community Development and Recreation Committee. First on the agenda
that day is the item ‘Update on Emergency Shelter Services’. We are
calling for everyone to join us on this day – pack the room, sign up
for deputations, demand from the City that they open up space and deal
with the crisis on the streets!
For the past few months, OCAP and allies have been raising the alarms
around a series of homeless deaths and consistent overcrowding in the
shelters. We have occupied space in front of Ford’s office and then
again at Metro Hall to demand that additional shelter space be opened
up. The response of Ford and his supporters has been to attack those
speaking out, to blatantly make up numbers, and to dismiss deaths on
the streets as ‘personal choice’.
By the City’s own admission, shelters are operating at 96% capacity.
On top of this, the daily experiences of homeless people, advocates
and front line workers lead to the inescapable conclusion that this
City's shelter system is overloaded and in crisis. When spaces are
over 90% capacity the overcrowding creates tension, conditions worsen
and for many are intolerable. This small 3 – 4% margin of availability
does not account for beds for women, co-eds, families, or for people
who are unable for reasons of safety to go to certain spaces. In the
Shelter Support and Housing Administration’s own report, they admit to
occupancy bed-checks being done at 4am –long after people have tried
to seek out a space.
Fittingly, the second item on the agenda of the March 18th Committee
meeting is ‘Review of the Centralized Waiting List for Social
Housing’. The waiting list for Housing in Toronto has approximately 90
000 households on it and is an abysmal 10 years long. This on top of
skyrocketing private rents, the lack of sufficient income for those on
welfare or disability, Provincial cuts to programs like Community
Start-Up, and cuts to shelter beds and supports over the years, have
created this crisis that we face right now.
JOIN and SUPPORT: Join us at Metro Hall, bring donations of sleeping bags, mats, and food if you can.
Follow us on Twitter: @OCAPtoronto #TakeShelter
Contact City officials and tell them that emergency shelter space is needed NOW:
Deputy City Manager, Brenda Patterson: 416- 338-7205
Acting Director of Shelter, Support and Housing Administration,
Phillip Abrahams 416-392-7885
Mayor Rob Ford: 416-397-FORD (3673)
WHY WE ARE HERE
• 8 homeless people have died since the beginning of 2013 and 34 people died in 2012. Some of these people froze on the streets, some of them died from health conditions caused by being homeless.
• Shelters are operating at 96% capacity. Overcrowding leads to appalling and often unsafe conditions inside shelters forcing many people on to the streets. In 1999, the City opened up Metro Hall as emergency shelter space after a decision that shelters should not be over 90% occupancy rate. We call on that policy, which has never been reversed, to be used today.
• Over 300 shelter beds have been lost since 2006, and overall cuts to spending on shelters, affordable housing, and supports. This year the City cut shelter funding by 2.9% which will result in an additional 100 beds (and related meals/programming) being lost.
• The Province recently cut the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit - a vital resource for people on social assistance to get housing (first and last month’s rent, etc). The City is now running a program called ‘Housing Stabilization Fund’ which is supposed to offer the same supports, however tight restrictions are making it harder for people to get the money they need to get housing.
• Shelters should not be a permanent solution – what we really need is affordable and accessible housing! But all three levels of government have refused to build housing. As a result, the wait-list for social housing in Toronto is an appalling 10 years long. The reality is that shelters are needed, and housing needs to be built. No one should be without a safe roof over their head.
We have taken this issue to all levels of the City through letters, meetings, rallies, and an occupation outside of Rob Ford’s office. As a result an emergency resolution was brought to City Council to open discussion – but that motion failed after Ford and his allies shot it down. City officials try to say publicly that there isn’t a problem – but we know there is a crisis and people on the streets are dying. We are left with no choice but to act and open shelter ourselves.
• That the City of Toronto run an emergency shelter at Metro Hall
• Reverse the Cuts to shelters and housing supports – restore the 400 beds
• Improve conditions in shelters and improve supports like harm reduction services
• Build affordable and accessible housing
• Make the Housing Stabilization Fund easier for people to access
• Demand from the Province: Restore Community Start-Up and Raise OW/ODSP Rates!