Emergency Action: Phone/Email the Minister Today, Prevent a Man from Being Made Homeless Due to a Computer GlitchSubmitted by ocap on Wed, 02/18/2015 - 04:33.
Phone/Email the Ministry Today (info below)
A 53 year old man with numerous health issues, including an upcoming double bypass surgery, Andrew McLean, is about to be evicted because of an ODSP computer error. Since the rollout of the Social Assistance Management System (SAMS) computer system last autumn, Andrew has seen his life turned upside down. Like many Ontarians on social assistance and disability, due to “glitches” in the new system, Andrew received his cheque late. His landlord initiated eviction proceedings against him based on "late payment of rent," and won an eviction order at the Landlord Tenant Board for Saturday, February 28.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services has acknowledged that they are to blame for this fiasco. Andrew’s worker has written several letters stating that they are working on fixing issues like these with SAMS. This hasn’t happened and shows no sign of happening soon. The Ministry has refused to do anything other than say "we’re working on it," while a man who needs significant and pressing medical help is left worrying about where he will sleep Sunday night.
This has had a very negative impact on Mr. McLean, who says: “It’s running me down, I feel tired all the time, I get chest pains and headaches because I don’t know what to do. It’s been an incredible stress. I can’t live my regular routine due to stress like this. And nobody can give me a straight answer about how to fix this, a straight answer about where I am supposed to live!”
We refuse to accept half-hearted excuses and apologies from the very Ministry that put Andrew in this situation in the first place. OCAP demands:
• That the Ministry prevent this eviction or, failing that, take on the responsibility of finding Andrew affordable, accessible and secure housing, given that they are the ones responsible for him facing the prospect of homelessness.
• That the SAMS experiment be deemed a failure, and that all OW/ODSP recipients impacted by it resume receiving benefits in the same manner and amount as prior to its rollout
The Ministry of Community and Social Services is responsible for the fact that Andrew is facing homelessness, and no excuses or stalling can change that fact. If Andrew isn’t housed immediately, join OCAP on Wednesday, March 4 at 12:00PM at the Macdonald block of Ontario Government Buildings (900 Bay, just past Wellesley) where OCAP will confront the MCSS and demand housing for Andrew, along with a repeal of SAMS, ensuring benefits are available to all Ontarians who need them, regardless of whatever computer system the province decides to use. We won't accept any more passing of the buck, just give us what we are owed!
STEP 1: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26 - CALL, EMAIL OR TWEET TO THE MINISTERS INVOLVED
MINISTER OF COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES
Dr. Helena Jaczek
Ministry phone: 416-325-5225
Constituency phone: 905-294-4931
MINISTER OF HOUSING AND MUNICIPALITIES
Ministry phone: 416-585-7000
Constituency phone: 905-690-6552
Office of Maximus Canada
56 Aberfoyle Crescent, at Islington Subway Station
Monday, March 2, 11.00 AM
If you need TTC tokens, meet at Bloor/Yonge Subway at 10.00 AM
(or they can be provided there)
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.
A delegation of OCAP members and supporters today went to Mayor John Tory's office to demand that promises to reduce Toronto shelter occupancy levels to a maximum of 90% be implemented by opening new space.
The doors to Tory's office were locked and guarded by security guards and cops. For about 45 minutes, it was not clear if a meeting with the delegation would be granted. We announced that, if they refused to deal with our concerns, we would leave and begin intervening at the Mayor's public functions until a meeting was provided. Shortly after this, the Deputy Mayor and two senior staff were made available and three of us were permitted, under police escort, into the inner area.
Meeting in a boardroom, we conveyed to the City representatives, how shocking the level of overcrowding is at the moment. Warming centres, only open during the coldest weather, are packed and official figures, though they confirm the 90% policy has not been met, seriously understate the full scale of the problem. Within the men's system, even the notorious Seaton House that many try to avoid having to use, is faced with such demand that cots are being put down in common areas.
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.
From Today: Gaetan Heroux Talks About the Dismal Situation in the Toronto Shelter System on CTV- 'We Let People Freeze'(Follow link below, right above picture):
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
We are circulating the statement below for endorsement by agencies, anti-poverty groups, unions, and other allies. Please forward it widely.
To add your name to the list of endorsing organizations, please contact Parkdale Community Legal Services 416-531-2411 ext. 248 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We are encouraging groups to take up this issue as part of the
Raise the Rates provincial Week of Action, Oct. 13-17
For more information:
like Raise the Rates on Facebook
Stepped Up ODSP Medical Reviews Will Mean Improper Denial and Needless Hardship
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.