Reclaim The Streets Rally & March

Thursday, June 23, 5:30pm, Regent Park Community Health Centre

Downtown East Women Rally & March to End Violence Against Women &
Gender Based Violence

In memory of women who have died on the streets - Stop the violence, Reclaim the Streets!

Every year we march in the Downtown East neighborhood of Toronto in memory of Carolyn Connolly and to honour too many other women, friends and family, that we have lost over the years. We march against the many daily occurrences of violence on our streets – the targeting of homeless, street-involved, racialized, sex workers, and Indigenous women, two-spirit, and trans folks. We march to demand better – an end to this violence and better housing, support and services that everyone deserves!

Video from Action To Demand Justice for Laura Bardeau & All HSF Applicants

On Wednesday, June 15, a mass OCAP delegation visited Mayor John Tory and Councillor James Pasternak as we escalated the fight to get Laura Bardeau and her kids the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) they are entitled to.

Justice for Laura Bardeau & Other HSF Applicants

The Fight Continues at City Hall | Bay and Queen | Wednesday, June 15 | 11.00 am #HSFJustice | Meet by giant Toronto sign in the square

On the 16th anniversary of OCAP’s powerful protests against austerity at Queen’s Park, help us deliver a clear and strong message to the City that we want justice for Laura Bardeau and everyone trying to get the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF). There is money to pay Pan Am Games executives lavish bonuses but poor families are denied basic furniture.

On Wednesday, come help us force City officials to:

- Grant Laura Bardeau the maximum HSF amount

- Make the HSF policy public

- End discrimination against parents and disabled people

Update: Laura Bardeau Still Waiting on HSF, Councillor Pasternak Tries to Cover Up Inadequate and Discriminatory Policy

Thank you to everyone who responded to OCAP's call/write campaign yesterday to demand that the City release the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) amount that Laura Bardeau, a single mum on ODSP, and her two disabled kids are entitled to. Within a day city politicians and bureaucrats, namely Mayor John Tory, Councillor James Pasternak, and Toronto Employment and Social Services General Manager, Patricia Walcott received many emails and phone calls demanding justice for Laura and her kids.

You have helped make this an issue they need to deal with, and we now need to make sure we use the momentum to ensure a victory for Laura and justice for all families applying for HSF.

Talking About Social Justice: OCAP Speaking Series - June 16


3rd Thursday of every month
40 Oak St. (East of Parliament, South of Gerrard)

Free Event with: Dinner, Childcare, Wheelchair Access, Tokens

Click here for audio from May 19th, 'Organizing and Disruption' with Chanteal-lee Winchester and John Clarke

July 21st - Colonialism
Speakers: Sigrid Kneve and Ruth Koleszar-Green

- What is colonialism?
- What is does colonialism look like in our neighbourhood?
- How can we decolonize?

Please take 5 Minutes on Monday June 6 to Help a Family Get Beds and Furniture!

Phone/Email/Tweet Action

Laura Bardeau and her two young sons all have disabilities and are living on social assistance. After a long struggle with bed bugs, they had to get rid of all of their furniture

While the City has a Housing Stabilization Fund to help people in this
exact situation buy furniture, they are refusing to help this family. The City says that Laura’s “combined ODSP and Child Tax income is in excess and precludes eligibility for HSF.” The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty can’t understand how a person whose sole sources of income are ODSP and Child Tax Benefit has income “in excess.” In excess of what? People on disability social assistance (ODSP) live well below the poverty line and frequently struggle to meet their basic needs including food and shelter.

Currently Laura is sleeping with one son on a mattress on the floor (where they also eat their meals) and the other son is sleeping on a separate mattress on the floor but the City won’t help.

Open Letter to Toronto City Council from Agencies and Workers Regarding the Shelter Crisis

Image description: Black and white photo of two signs. Both have a silhouette of a house on them and read SHELTER NOW

March 23, 2016

To the Members of Toronto City Council:

We are concerned agencies, organizations and individuals that work directly with people experiencing homelessness and who struggle to access safe and adequate shelter on a nightly basis. We are writing with regards to the city’s lack of response to the homelessness crisis and the dangerous, overcrowded and unacceptable state of the emergency shelters in the city.

Recently the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) released a report, entitled Out in the Cold: The Crisis in Toronto’s Shelter System, that details the experiences of over 100 service users in shelters and Out of the Cold programs. The report highlights concerns about unsafe conditions and difficulties with access. It also confirms that despite a promise made by city council to keep occupancy rates at 90%, shelters across all sectors continue to operate well above that each and every night.

Basic Income in the Hands of the Liberal Party

Image description: The lower third of a Canadian hundred dollar bill, broken up into puzzle pieces

Both the Federal Government and the Wynne Regime in Ontario have been making noises of late about the notion of introducing a system of Basic Income. The Provincial Budget even suggests that a pilot project will be set in motion in a community to be determined. Clearly, a significant development in the area of social policy is possible and we must ask ourselves how we should view this.

At first glance, especially as the impact of austerity and social cutbacks throws ever more people into poverty, the idea that everyone should be guaranteed a certain minimum level of income that lifts them out of poverty is enormously appealing. If that was all we were considering here, the matter would be very clear cut and Basic Income would have our unqualified support. Sadly, however, things are less straightforward and the issue raises some alarm bells. In this regard, there are several questions to consider.

129 Years of Neglect: A Brief History of Toronto's Shelter Conditions, 1887 - 2016

Image description: Map from 1890, yellowed with age. At the corner of Elm and Elizabeth Streets, there is a large building occupying 8 blocks labeled "POOR HOUSE"; this is the House of Industry mentioned below

The warehousing of homeless people in Toronto in overcrowded and vile conditions has a long history, as this collection from the past shows. Under the impact of austerity and redevelopment, the situation in 2016 is especially dreadful. The appalling levels of overcrowding are lethal at the moment and constitute an assault on health and dignity. OCAP is demanding that the Federal Armouries be opened to provide emergency shelter, as they were at various times in the 1990s and again in 2004. Pressure must be take off the system and we and our allies are working hard to prevail up Mayor John Tory and the City Council to act immediately.

As Food Prices Soar, Ontario Liberal Budget Intensifies the War on the Poor

Image description: Infographic titled "Rising Canadian Food Prices". Text includes: onions - +17%, carrots - +14%, potatoes - +14%, beef - +14%, celery - +46%, apples - +12%, macaroni - +13%, soup - +11%, grapefruit - +23%. Image courtesy of Calgary Food Bank; data from Statistics Canada

The 2016 Ontario Budget provides an increase for those on Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) that is pegged below even the official rate of inflation, let alone the real cost of living increases that poor people are experiencing.

The Budget provides a wretched 1.5% increase to those on social assistance, with an extra pittance for those with the lowest incomes of all, single people without children on OW, that will provide them with a total additional payment of $25 a month. At present, they are seeking to survive on a maximum of $681 a month. These increases will not even kick in until September and October.

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