UPDATE: OCAP Wins Fight for 24 Hour Women and Trans* Drop-In Spaces! All Charges Against November 25 Arrestees Withdrawn!

Dear friends and allies,

Today we are happy to announce two important updates on the fight for 24 hour women and trans* drop-ins in Toronto:

1) Most importantly, we have WON 24 hour drop-ins in Toronto! Funds for the women & trans* drop-ins were passed during this year’s budget process. The 2015 Operating Budget for shelter, housing and support, as approved by City Council last week, includes new funding of $2,250,000 in 2015 for new 24 hour drop-in services for women and trans* people, increasing to $3,000,000 in 2016 and beyond. Spaces are confirmed and it is only a matter of weeks before we will see the drop-ins opened (more info on specific opening dates and locations to be sent out soon). We are proud of the work we have done and what we accomplished together with our allies during this collective struggle. We have drawn attention to the violence that street involved women face and the need for increased services for people who are homeless in Toronto. This is an important victory - services like these save lives.

2) This morning all charges were withdrawn against all 5 OCAP women who took part in the action on November 25th. In return the women agreed to provide 30 hours of community service.

Save the Hope Shelter! Toronto Can't Lose 124 Shelter Beds!

News that the Salvation Army Hope Shelter, at McCaul and College, is set to close on April 15 constitutes a devastating blow. The shelter system is horribly overcrowded and all assurances that the City’s policy of keeping occupancy levels at no more than 90% will finally be adhered to have proven to be false. This particular shelter, located in the underserviced west end, is consistently operating at maximum capacity. Four homeless men died in January and the removal of 124 beds from the system simply can’t be allowed to happen.

Support The Struggle And Become An OCAP Sustainer

As little as $10 a month can help us maintain our work across this city and it just got easier to give.

For close to 20 years the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty has been at the forefront of community based resistance to regressive social policy from all levels of government. We have helped inspire numerous groups across this country and continent, been studied in universities and college programs and most importantly we have time after time organized poor communities to stand up and take what’s theirs. To fight for their dignity and for justice.

Today we are engaged day to day in the fight against City Hall, Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill. Making sure that repairs are done in community housing, fighting for each and every entitlement on welfare and disability and working to win fundamental changes that will mean better housing, more to eat and better social programs.

All of this continues to be carried out on a shoestring budget. Year after year we scrape by on the generosity of our members and supporters, primarily by those who answer our emergency appeals for cash when we are on the brink of laying off staff or closing our office. Our monthly expenses are by no means outrageous. We pay our staff what we can, cover basic bills and operate a small office. Every month we are thousands of dollars short of covering our expenses.

Our goal is to change all of that by the end of this year. We are looking for all supporters of our work to pitch in and help support the struggle by becoming a part of our monthly sustainers program. Please only donate what you can. Five dollars helps. Ten dollars helps. And if you can afford to give more please do.

To become a monthly sustainer, send a void cheque with amount and which date of the month you'd prefer it to be processed to:

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
157 Carlton, # 206,
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 2K3

For more information call us at 416-925-6939 or email ocap@tao.ca.

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