24 Hour Drop-ins for Women in Toronto Shamefully Delayed; Important update about August 6th Budget Committee

After repeated sexual assaults on homeless women on the streets of Toronto and while the City shelter system for women in particular is in crisis and operating beyond capacity – women from the community fought to end the violence and for access to safe space.

In a report by City staff the call for two, 24-hour/after-hours drop-ins was supported by Shelter, Support & Housing as well as the Community Development and Recreation committee.

On June 10th, City Council supported the recommendation and voted to begin the process to create these drop-ins. City staff from Shelter Support and Housing Administration Staff were directed to present the funding needed to the upcoming budget committee on August 6 so that at least one space could be ready by the end of this year.

Despite the serious nature of this issue, City staff will not present its report on August 6. The issue of 24 hour drop-ins for women will NOT be on the agenda – deputations, therefore, are cancelled.

It remains unclear at this point what is to happen in order to move the development of this service forward. We are currently working to try to clarify information on this bureaucratic process, and as soon as we have further information we will send that out. However, what we do know is that August 6th is the last Budget Committee meeting, and August 25th is the last Council meeting – if this does come to the floor in August, because of the elections, the issue could be left until sometime in 2015 to proceed and become realized.

Our position is that delays cannot be accepted – money needs to be found and this issue needs to move forward IMMEDIATELY.

Ontario Liberal Budget Maps Out the Way to ‘Social Justice’ Austerity

During the recent Provincial Election, Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals distanced themselves from the crude right wing ideas of the Hudak Tories by pointing to their ‘progressive’ Provincial Budget over which the election was fought. In fact, this document is not quite the road map to ‘social justice’ it claims to be.

What the Liberals actually set out in their Budget plan is a multi-year blueprint to cut the spending for government programs in Ontario. If you take into account inflation and population increases, the Budget actually represents a commitment to shrink services and reduce deficits on the backs of those least able to afford the cost. Those on Ontario Works (OW) and ODSP will receive a 1% increase below the rate of inflation that will see them fall deeper into poverty. The vital Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit, that people used to obtain or retain housing, will not be restored. Low wage workers will see the minimum wage indexed to inflation but kept at a level that condemns them to working poverty. While the poor fall further behind, landlords are allowed to increase their rents at or above the rate of inflation and billions of dollars that the ‘cash strapped’ Government could use to reduce its deficit are handed to wealthy corporations in the form of tax breaks.

DTE Community Forum – TAVIS in the Neighbourhood

Download the Poster for this event HERE,
And Download the Flyer for this event HERE!

DTE Community Forum – TAVIS in the Neighbourhood
Thursday August 7, 2014
6pm - Community meal
6:30 - 7:30 - Forum
7:30 – 8pm - Social - tea/coffee and desserts
40 Oak St - C.R.C.*
*This space is accessible and has accessible washrooms

Toronto's Downtown East Community is currently being targeted by TAVIS (Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy) from June 18 -September 8. While governments pay to send additional police into the neighbourhood – they refuse to provide the resources for the things that are actually needed.

We need decent and affordable housing, jobs that pay a living wage and incomes for people on welfare and disability that enable them to live in health and dignity.
We need opportunities, training/education and jobs for youth.
We do not need to be traumatized and criminalized by police harassment.
We need an end to targeted policing, an end to racial profiling and an end to police violence.

The people most directly affected by this attack include, people of colour, families and youth, people who use drugs, poor people, sex workers, and homeless people.

We need to come together in solidarity to challenge and defeat this attack. We need to make demands and organize for what our communities really need. We will not be priced, policed or pushed out of our

OCAP New Members Meeting

Come check out OCAP and get involved!

Where: St. Luke’s Church, 353 Sherbourne St.*
When: August 20th, 6-8 pm
*accessible space w/ accessible washroomss.
Snacks, tokens and childcare will be provided.

OCAP Community Organizing Course – Call for Participants - September 2014

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty is holding a course to offer people some of the knowledge and skills they will need to mobilize in their communities to resist poverty and austerity. Since the last course, OCAP has fought for more shelter beds, a women's drop in, for a raise to social assistance rates, against cuts to ODSP and against gentrification and policing in the downtown East.

4 consecutive Saturdays:
September 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th

TIME: 2-5pm

followed by a meal each week.

Childcare and transportation costs will be provided and the location is wheelchair accessible, with accessible washrooms.

Ontario Government Launches Major Attack on ODSP

The Wynne Government has begun a Province wide drive to review the entitlement to benefits of thousands of people on ODSP. The Lankin Sheikh Report that the Government commissioned urges that a 'backlog' of 30,000 cases should be subject to an accelerated medical review process and it appears that this is being acted upon. Staff have been transferred for this purpose and the reviews may move at a rate of 600 cases a month.

*Updated* River Run 2014: Walk with Grassy Narrows for clean water and Indigenous rights

River Run 2014: Walk with Grassy Narrows for clean water and Indigenous rights

Water is sacred. Defend indigenous sovereignty.
DONATE to help the Grassy Narrows Women's Drum Group travel to Toronto for the River Run.


Update: Creating Safer Spaces for Street-involved women in Toronto

Support needed at Budget Committee: Wednesday August 6th

For almost a year, we have been fighting for safe space – shelter/24hour/after hour drop-ins for street-involved women in Toronto. This issue came to the forefront after the assault of a woman who was sleeping outside at the corner of Dundas and Sherbourne in September 2013 – she was sexually assaulted twice in one night by two different men. That same night, as is the case on many nights, the emergency shelter system was packed, and few options remain for women on the streets to find a safer place to rest, check-in, or get supplies and support. That lack of space has put the lives and safety of low income, homeless women and street-based sex workers at risk.

Impending Police Sweep of Downtown East an Attack on a Poor Community

Impending Police Sweep of Downtown East an Attack on a Poor Community
-Statement from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty-

Between June 16 and September 8, the area between Wellesley and Queen, Church and Parliament will be the focus of an ongoing police sweep, involving dozens of officers and organized under the auspices of the Toronto Anti Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS). They are bringing in an additional 24 constables and 12 staff sergeants on both foot and bike.

Community Responds to TAVIS in Toronto's DTE

Community Responds to TAVIS in Toronto's DTE

Yesterday, Monday June 16th, residents and community organizations held a press conference to demand an end to police sweeps in the Downtown East, to stop police harassment of those who live here and to let the police know that they are not going to let them roam the streets with impunity. Their patrols will be monitored and their abuses challenged.

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