EMERGENCY ACTION TOMORROW (MARCH 4, 12PM, 900 BAY ST): DEMAND HOUSING FOR ANDREW MCLEAN AND AN END TO THE S.A.M.S. FIASCO!
TOMORROW! JOIN OCAP'S DELEGATION TO THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES! DEMAND HOUSING FOR ANDREW AND AN END TO THE ONGOING SAMS FIASCO!
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4
DELEGATION TO MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES TO DEMAND HOUSING FOR ANDREW MCLEAN AND A REPEAL OF THE BROKEN S.A.M.S. SYSTEM!
Wednesday, March 4, 12:00PM
Office of Maximus Canada
56 Aberfoyle Crescent, at Islington Subway Station
JOIN OUR CONTINGENT!
Meet up: 12:45 pm outside the Bata Shoe Museum (South West corner of Bloor and St.George). We'll walk over to the march together (1pm 252 Bloor St. West)
When: Saturday March 7th just before the International Women's Day March
For more info on the rally and the march: http://iwdtoronto.ca/
JOIN US FOR OUR SIGNS AND BANNER MAKING NIGHT
We'll be making feminist and anti-capitalist banners, placards and signs. We'll also have fabric paint for t-shirts. Light snacks and tea will be provided.
When: Wednesday March 4th 6:30 - 9:30 pm
Where: St. Luke’s Church at the corner of Sherbourne and Carlton in the Upper Friendship Room. (Wheelchair accessible, TTC tokens provided.)
This March 7th, join our anti-austerity contingent at the International Women’s Day March in Toronto. We stand against patriarchy, in opposition to austerity, and for the equality of women and trans people everywhere! We will be marching with members from OCAP, the Downtown East Women Committee, The Toronto Harm Reduction Worker's Union, and the Industrial Workers of the World Women's Committee.
City Hall, Wednesday, February 18, 10.00 AM
In the wake of four homeless deaths in January and, following strong community action, the City is including measures in its Budget to increase the number of shelter beds and open drop in space for homeless women and trans people.
These are important gains but they will not take effect until the Spring and, in the meantime, as more extreme cold weather hits the City, the shelters remain perilously overcrowded. Last month, hostel administration undertook to open motel rooms to reduce the pressure on the system. They were very clear that the measures they were taking would reduce occupancy levels throughout the system to 90%, the maximum they are supposed to operate at under City policy. This is simply not taking place.
On February 11, men's shelters operated at 95%, women's at 97% and the family shelters at 98%. These are the understated official figures. That same night, in the notorious Seaton House, staff had to pack 20 low cots in the television room to deal with those needing a place to be in from the cold.
Before going over to College & Bay, meet up with us outside the OCAP office (in St Luke's church) at the corner of Carlton & Sherbourne for hot chocolate at 12:00 noon, we'll go over together!
Strawberry Ceremony with Elder Wanda Whitebird begins at 12:30 at Police Headquarters, 40 College Street at Bay, Toronto
Community Feast at the central YMCA on Grosvenor Street - following the ceremony. Food provided by Na Me Res Native Men's Residence.
Please leave your agency and organization banners at home and instead make signs in honour of women, girls, Trans and Two Spirit people who have died violent and premature deaths.
Singers, song keepers and drummers please bring your drums for the ceremony. Drummers from the organizing committee, with the direction of Wanda will be leading songs. Jingle dress dancers are also called to join on the march. Please contact us if you can participate so protocols can be observed.
We recognize that February is out of season for a ceremony involving strawberries, but the violence we are experiencing is also a disruption in our traditional ways of life.
Immigrant detainees are being held indefinitely and without charge or trial in Lindsay’s maximum security jail. Unlike many of us, this Family Day, they will not be reuniting with their families. In fact, they are unable to see their families on most other days because Lindsay is inaccessible by public transport.
On February 16th, bring your family, young and old - sisters, fathers, sons, grandmothers and friends - and stand in solidarity with hundreds of families that are impacted by indefinite migrant detention, and the 100,000 more separated by detention over the past 8 years.
Where: The Central East Correctional Facility in Lindsay Ontario
When: 4:00pm (Bus leaves from Christie Pits Park at 2pm, and returns at 7pm, click here to register)
Everyone should be able to be with the people they love every day!
As we enter 2015, No One Is Illegal - Toronto would like to take a moment to reflect on our work over the last year to prepare for the work ahead. Knowing where we came from allows us to chart where we want to go. This report is a way for us to communicate and be accountable to the many people that make up our broader movement for migrant justice. It is you, the families fighting detentions and deportations; those that are trying to access services; and the communities that take to the streets despite great risk that made this work possible.
Please read the report and let us know how we can collectively escalate our efforts, and improve our tactics and strategies for change. If you find our work important, please consider joining us or becoming a monthly financial sustainer.
No One Is Illegal - Toronto 2014 organizing highlights:
No One Is Illegal - Toronto is delighted to welcome our comrade and ally Gary Freeman back to Canada.
We have supported Gary Freeman since he was arrested in 2004 outside a Yonge Street library in Toronto for shooting a Chicago police officer Terrence Knox in self-defence in 1969.
Listen to an interview we did with his family in 2008: http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/40215
Toronto Star coverage from today (with video): http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/01/21/former-fugitive-douglas-gary-...
Stop an Unjust Extradition to the United States!
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
After the deaths of four homeless men in Toronto and, under enormous community pressure, the City of Toronto has taken some important steps to deal with the crisis of overcrowding in the homeless shelters. Today, the Community Development and Recreation Committee of City Council met and the following initiatives emerged from it.
1. Motel space will be opened up in the in both the west and east ends of the City. An immediate 90 spaces will operate by Monday but the locations are 'expandable' and the Administration committed to using these facilities to ensure that occupancy levels do not exceed 90% in all of the sectors of the system.
2. The two 24 hour drop in spaces for homeless women and trans people that should have been opened last month will be included in the City Budget and the first will open in March and the second the following month. We are appalled by this outrageous delay but the very fact that the drop ins will open in two to three months is a gain. A short while ago, there was no indication that they would even be included in the Budget for 2015
3. Two shelters will open by the summer for LGBTQ youth, a part of the homeless population that faces particular exclusion from the shelter system.
4. Shelter Services and the Board of Health are being asked to reassess the cold weather alert system to distinguish between the needs of the general population and the homeless. This means looking at opening warming centres before the temperature has dropped to -15c and keeping them open during much if not all of the winter.
5. Adhering to the 90% and the other measures will be included in Budget proposals but City staff are instructed to get to the 90% level immediately. The full Council is asked to endorse the results of the meeting but additional space will open in the meantime.
In the situation where overcrowded shelters are threatening lives, the gains made today are important but it's completely necessary to point out that the history of providing shelter for the homeless in Toronto is one where those in power have done as little as possible when they absolutely had to. Some concrete resources have been freed up but we will have to keep taking action, challenge any and all backsliding, push for further improvements and engage the Provincial and Federal Governments as well to move beyond a struggle for mere shelter beds and to take up the fight for housing.
Following the freezing deaths of two homeless men in Toronto, a third life has been lost this week. A 61 year old man came into the City's Peter Street Referral Centre last Thursday, according to shelter administration, to take a break from the streets under their 'respite program'. He died while he was inside the building with no information released on the exact cause of death.
This man's tragic death is reminder of the conditions homeless people face and how short life is for so many on the streets. During 2014, 29 people died in the City's homeless shelters - 26 men and three women. Their average age was only 57.6 years. We're fighting to reduce overcrowding in the shelters to the point where people can be sure of a bed and have an expectation of safety and dignity but we are only too aware that the bigger issue is to win decent housing for everyone as a matter of right!
Meet in front of City Hall (Bay and Queen),
Thursday January 15, 9.00 AM
Following two tragic freezing deaths on the streets this last week, community action, including an OCAP delegation to Mayor John Tory's office, forced the opening of vital warming centres for the homeless. They have remained open despite the calling off of the official cold weather alert. However, it is absolutely essential that enough additional space is opened and kept open to take the pressure off the overcrowded shelter system.
On January 15, the Community Development and Recreation Committee of City Council is meeting. We are going there to demand that enough space be opened immediately to bring occupancy levels down to the 90% maximum they are supposed to operate at. We will also call for two promised but delayed 24 hour drops for women and trans people to be opened right away.
A range of individuals and organizations, including OCAP, will be presenting the case for these measures and we are asking for as many people as possible to come out and show support.
No Homeless Deaths!
In the last 48 hours two homeless men died on our streets during the first cold days of this year's winter. The city of Toronto had failed to call an extreme weather alert which would have opened up 3 warming shelters. The emergency shelters remain full, turning people away daily.
We saw two crucial victories from today's emergency delegation to city
hall. Two warming centres, Margaret's Toronto East Drop-in (323 Dundas St.
East) and St.Felix Social Ministries Outreach (25 Augusta Av) are now
open. Thank you to everyone who came out and participated. And thank you
to everyone for continuing to remember and fight for those we've lost on
Warming Centres are vital, emergency, short-term wins, but the overall
system remains in crisis. Today's decision does not change the fact that
shelters are operating way over the 90% capacity rate promised by the city
two years ago. Instead, we find ourselves fighting to hold the city
accountable to their own emergency procedures.
Join us again on Thursday, January 8th at College Park (444 Yonge Street)
at 9 am to support the 5 women who were arrested on Nov.25th, and to
continue our demands for increased shelter capacity, and immediate action
on a 24-hour drop in space for women and trans people who are without
Let's build off the incredibly momentum from today. Let's keep up the
fight and fight to win!
No More Homeless Deaths! We Demand Action Now!
When: Today - 1:30pm
Where: City Hall
In the last 48 hours two homeless men have died on our streets during the
first cold days of this winter. The City failed to call an extreme
weather alert which would have opened up 3 warming shelters. The emergency
shelters remain full, turning people away daily. The City must act today!
On Monday morning a 59 year old man was found dead seeking shelter in an
empty truck in a shipping yard on Davenport Road, near Lansdowne Ave.
This morning, another homeless man died after being found in a t-shirt and
jeans in a bus shelter at Dundas and Yonge St. In both deaths the cold
weather was likely a factor. In both deaths, the lack of a proper
adequate emergency shelter system, and the absence of decent accessible
social housing were certainly factors.
It is unacceptable for homeless people to be left to freeze to death
outside. The City of Toronto has the power to act immediately to address
the homeless crisis and to prevent further deaths.
In 1996, after the freezing deaths of three homeless men, the City was
forced to open the armouries for emergency shelter. We demand that Mayor
John Tory: intervene and open up more emergency shelter so people are not
turned away from the existing overcrowded one, instruct the Medical
Officer of Health to call an extreme cold weather alert, and open up the
three warming centres.
The shelter system is in crisis. The City breaks it’s own 90% occupancy
limit daily. It has warned and conceded that the system is overcapacity.
In addition the City has failed so far to open the two 24hour women &
Trans drop-ins. Refusing to act is contributing to the deaths of people on
the streets of Toronto. The City must act now!
Join us today at 1:30pm at City Hall to demand immediate opening of
emergency shelter space now!
Please: Call/email/tweet in on mass to Mayor John Tory, your City
Councillors and the Board of Health
When: Thursday January 8th, 9am
Where: 444 Yonge Street (College Park Courthouse at College and Yonge)
*Supporters encouraged to wear ‘Stop Violence Against Women’ T-shirts
On November 25, 2014, the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women, five women were violently arrested after they peacefully refused to leave the City of Toronto’s Shelter Administration offices at 21 Park Rd. The sit-in was part of a protest to demand that the City of Toronto open up more shelter beds and a 24-hour drop in for women and trans people – commitments that were approved by City Council in 2014 but have not yet been acted upon. Daily shelter stats show chronic overcrowding in the system, many people are left with nowhere to go and the City of Toronto has no 24 hour services for women and trans folks. The lack of immediate action by the City is putting lives at risk. For more info on the crisis in the shelter system, visit http://www.ocap.ca/node/1202
OCAP's response to John Tory;
Please Keep up the Calls & Emails to the Mayor's Office!
December 15, 2014
Mayor John Tory,
Toronto City Hall,
Delivered by Hand
Thank you for your December 12th letter. Unfortunately, we can’t consider it a sufficient response. You stress the importance of adequate shelter but offer only some indications of potential improvements at some point in 2015. What we sought to convey to you was the fact that you have taken over the Mayor’s job in a situation of acute crisis for homeless people in this City. We demand immediate action.
Due to a complete failure to implement binding policies with regard to shelter occupancy, the system is operating at intolerable and life threatening levels of overcrowding. This remains so even with the privately run “Out of the Cold” programs absorbing significant numbers. The failure to follow through on a drop-in space for women and trans people, puts lives at risk right now. At a time when gender-based violence and sexual assault has gripped National attention, you have it in your power to implement a service that would greatly reduce the likelihood of violence done to women and trans people in this city. It is simply not enough to say that the Deputy Mayor will be looking into this, or that the January meeting of Council will be considering options for next year. Lives are on the line. This is an emergency situation and should be treated as such.
As a new Mayor who has spoken of the need for a ‘unified City’, we are calling on you to give the question of adequate shelter and safe space full and immediate attention. With all due respect to Councillor McConnell, we repeat our call for you to personally meet with a community delegation and ensure that a fitting response to this crisis be rapidly developed. It really seems very little to ask that, while this City enjoys the Holiday period, its homeless residents should have their basic dignity and safety taken care of. At the very minimum, shelters ought to be operating at or below 90% occupancy.
Thank you for your attention to this matter
The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
It's Glory Anawa's 29th birthday today. Since February 2013, she has been imprisoned in immigration jails in Ontario without charge or trial. Canada cannot deport her but will not release her.
Her son, Alpha Ochigbo was born in the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre on August 25th, 2013. Alpha has not seen a single day of freedom.
Alpha is Glory's second child that she is raising inside an immigration jail. Her daughter Tracy was born in Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre in the United Kingdom.
Horrific as Glory's story is, it is not an exception. Racialized and poor migrants are locked up in jails around the globe for the desire to move. Without adequate supports, women, children and trans people face great harm.