Metro Hall: King and John St, Toronto
The City of Toronto refuses to admit that the homeless shelter system
is in a lethal crisis of overcrowding. By the City's own admission,
homeless shelters are operating at 96% capacity. This represents cond itions of such overcrowding and tension that people are being forced onto the streets and lives are being lost. Every effort has been made to convince both the administration and politicians to act and open an emergency facility but we have been met with steadfast refusal. City Council refused even to debate the issue when this was proposed by Councillor Adam Vaughan.
For the past several weeks, OCAP and allies have been forcing the
issue of homeless deaths and the crisis in the Toronto shelter system
in to the light of day. We brought a delegation to Shelter, Support
and Housing Administration, we held a rally at their offices, we
delivered a set of demands signed by over 1000 people (see here:
http://update.ocap.ca/node/1053), and then last Friday we set up an
emergency shelter in front of Mayor Rob Ford’s office on the eve of
another extreme cold weather alert (http://update.ocap.ca/node/1057).
As a result, Councillor Adam Vaughan brought an emergency motion
today, Wednesday, February 20th, for City Council to immediately open
up debate on the issue. Despite many councillors speaking in favour,
the motion failed and the issue was deferred to a March 18th Community
Development Meeting. March 18th is not only a long time to wait, but
will mean further reports and deferral – all while the crisis on the
streets grows and more deaths are a grim possibility. We maintain that
this is an emergency situation; at least 7 homeless people have died
in 2013, with 34 deaths in 2012.
Before today’s motion at City Council, OCAP held a press conference
where we talked about the history of spaces being opened up in the
city to meet shelter needs– an example of which is Metro Hall in 1999.
Metro Hall is owned/operated by the City and could, relatively
speaking, be easily opened up as emergency shelter space. We are
concerned with the pattern of ramming people in to already overcrowded
shelters or people forced to sleep on the waiting room floor of the
Peter Street referral centre itself. We stated publicly today that
should the motion at City Council fail, and should the City fail to
act on this urgent matter, that we will be opening up space ourselves
on March 7th.
OCAP has opened a shelter at City Hall and we need your help to defend the space we've taken. We are being told that they will try
to clear us out by 9:30pm. We need large numbers if we are going to keep this shelter open!
Bring food, drinks and any other supplies you may have. Spread the word! No more homeless deaths!
Meal and Planning Meeting
Friday, February 15th
Church of the Holy Trinity
10 Trinity Sq (near Queen/Bay)
There have been 2 homeless deaths in the past few weeks in Toronto making 36 deaths in one year alone. The city and the Province have cut funding to shelters, housing and homeless prevention services even though the reality is that shelters are full and cuts are costing lives.
We have taken this issue again and again to the City of Toronto's Shelter Support and Housing Administration including demands signed by over 1000 people (see previous story: http://ocap.ca/node/1053)
- and yet they refuse to take action. We can not sit by while more people die. Let's talk about taking and setting up an emergency shelter. If they won't open shelter beds - we will. Direct action is required. Please come out on Friday, February 15th to talk together about how we can do this.
Friday, February 1st
Metro Hall, 55 John St. (King and John)
In the past week there have been two homeless deaths in Toronto– that
makes 36 in one year alone (that we know about)! This comes at a time
when the City of Toronto and the Province have both cut funding to
homeless prevention programs, shelters, and housing. These cuts cost
lives. Shelters are already overcrowded and there is a chronic lack of
supports and housing. Join us on Friday to demand that the City
immediately release contingency funding for shelters, reverse the cuts
to shelters and housing, make it easier for people to access the
Housing Stabilization Fund (the replacement to Community Start-Up),
and stop lying to the public about space in the shelter system and
instead take action to end homeless deaths!
**We are calling on organizations and individuals to please sign-on to the the statement of demands to the City. This Statement is below. On Friday we will be delivering this.
To endorse this statement and to get involved, please contact:
email@example.com / 416-925-6939