A survey and study of Toronto's shelter system backup, the volunteer-run Out of the Cold (OOTC) program, conducted last month by members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty has been publicly released today and is already driving discussion around the ongoing implosion of the emergency shelter system.
Over the last few weeks, the OCAP office has taken a lot of calls from people living in poverty who question whether refugees should be allowed into Canada when so many are experiencing homelessness and hard times. An expression we keep hearing is that 'we should take care of our own first'. This is our response to such ideas and to those who want us to blame the refugees rather than look at the real reasons why there is poverty and homelessness.
Canada has, of course, been shaped by immigration and the history of the people who have come here is hardly a picture of easy times and luxurious treatment. Those fleeing persecution and poverty have always experienced discrimination and super exploitation. At the same time, immigrants have always faced the lie that they were somehow 'queue jumpers' enjoying special treatment. Refugees coming here today from Syria and other countries face the same slanders. Lots of hateful and false claims of refugees getting special treatment are all over the internet. One widely circulated offering, for example, suggested that refugees are provided with $2,470 per month when this figure included a one time start up payment and presented it as monthly payment. Those who are privately sponsored, moreover, don't get government assistance. The free ride for the refugees is a racist myth you should take with a whole salt mine.
At the beginning of September, Toronto Social Services adopted a new policy with regard to the ID that would be required of people who are not Canadian citizens.
OCAP Members Occupy Rotunda at City Hall as Council Approves George Street "Revitalization"
OCAP went to Toronto city hall to ask the mayor & councillors - which of you is prepared to open a shelter in your ward?Submitted by ocap on Fri, 10/16/2015 - 06:04.
OCAP Shuts Down Yonge & Dundas, Demanding Immediate Action to End Toronto's Shelter Crisis!
Earlier today (September 21), members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) blocked traffic for over 40 minutes at Canada's busiest intersection, during the lunch hour rush. Earlier in the day, we staged a rally and meal at Toronto City Hall and marched up to Yonge and Dundas as it concluded. Upon reaching Yonge-Dundas Square, a few dozen activists, allies and supporters rushed into the street and began laying flowers and memorial signs around the perimeter of the intersection, preventing traffic from moving by blocking lanes. Speeches were made and banners unfurled mere meters away from the bus shelter where a man froze to death in January of this year.
September 18, 2015
You will doubtless remember the homeless deaths that happened in this City at the beginning of the year. At the time, promises were made to reduce the level of overcrowding but nothing of the kind has happened. If we look at the latest Daily Shelter Census, issued by the City, we see an (understated) overall occupancy figure of 95%, with the men’s system running at 96% and the women’s at 97%. We must presume there is simply no intention of complying with the 90% policy that Council has adopted.
REQUEST FOR ENDORSEMENTS: What is Wrong with the City of Toronto’s “George Street Revitalization Project”?Submitted by ocap on Fri, 08/07/2015 - 17:55.
Sign on to this statement! Demand the City of Toronto enforce its own shelter standards and prevent the ongoing gentrification of the Downtown! To add your organization to the list of endorsers, email email@example.com or via Facebook and Twitter.
Seaton House on George Street is the City’s largest men’s shelter. In 2013, over 3,000 men used one of the 540 beds there. The GSRP proposes to turn Seaton House into a long-term care home, emergency shelter, assisted living residence and service hub. There are serious concerns about Seaton House and its conditions but the ‘revitalization’ is a bad idea because…
AUSTERITY WEARS ITS ‘POVERTY REDUCTION’ MASK
OCAP members picket the Liberal poverty reduction consultation in 2013. In the foreground, a person holds a sign reading "Talk is Cheap - Yours is Worthless"
‘Poverty reduction’ is, of course, nothing new to any of us. The Provincial Liberals have kept this farce up for a truly astounding number of years, even as they imposed great levels of poverty, inequality and austerity on communities throughout the Province.
There is really no need to engage in any major examination of the City’s document for the simple reason that it is fluff. It lays out a ‘strategy’ that consists of pious hopes and meaningless statements of intent while,at the same time, carefully avoiding the very issues that could and should be addressed at the municipal level in order to challenge poverty. It proposes, for example, to work to ‘enhance investments in repairs to existing social housing’. The last federal and provincial budgets set aside not one penny for this purpose. What strategy is suggested to overcome this scandalous state of affairs? None at all because no one seriously expects this ‘goal’ to pursued.