November 22 National Housing Day

NATIONAL HOUSING DAY: CALL TO ACTION

(Download poster here: 
http://www.shjn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/SHJN-tabloid.pdf)

SAVE THE DATE: NOVEMBER 22, 2022 – 12PM.
DAVID CROMBIE PARK, Toronto  (Baseball Diamond at Sherbourne/Esplanade)

Housing in Canada is deeply unaffordable and the crisis escalates everyday. Across the country from Kingston to Vancouver, Iqaluit to Montreal, people are being priced out of rental stock, losing their housing and sleeping in tents, bus shelters and ravines because they cannot access housing or shelter. In Toronto a state of emergency ensues.  80,000 HOUSEHOLDS ARE ON THE WAITING LIST FOR SOCIAL HOUSING while 138 people a day are denied access to emergency shelters because shelters are at capacity. In 2021, the December ‘Toronto Homeless Memorial’ recorded the highest number of homeless deaths per month to date. Despite the dangerous shortage of shelter spaces and the dire lack of affordable housing, the City is planning to close shelter-hotels and continues to attack and displace encampment residents.

 

We must fight back!!

 

November 22 is National Housing Day. The Shelter and Housing Justice Network (SHJN) is calling for a mass rally to send a loud message to all levels of government: leaving people to suffer and die from lack of shelter and housing can not be allowed to continue. All level of governments MUST build social housing now!

 

If you care about your unhoused neighbour –

If you are struggling to afford housing yourself –

If you don’t want to let people freeze to death on our streets –

 

Come out and show your support on Tuesday November 22 at David Crombie Park (baseball diamond, at the corner of Sherbourne and Esplanade). 

Lunch will be served at 11:45am with speakers, entertainment and rally to follow at noon. We will unite demanding the following:   http://www.shjn.ca/rally-for-housing/national-day-for-housing-our-demands/

 

The St. Lawrence Neighbourhood is a success story around the world. It was built when Canada still had a fully funded National Housing Program. The Co-ops, supportive housing and public housing units are homes for thousands of people. Today, the only signs of new housing in the community are cranes that are building unaffordable condos.


Sharing –  Regarding the clearing of encampment at Allan gardens post-election!

OPEN LETTER TO CHRIS MOISE CANDIDATE FOR COUNCILLOR WARD 13, OCTOBER 20, 2022

Dear Chris Moise,

As the frontrunning candidate to be the Councillor for Ward 13, Toronto Centre, we are asking what steps you will take to prevent the forced eviction of encampment residents from Allan Gardens after the election.

Saint Luke’s United Church, under the leadership of Rev. Jim Keenan, and the Out of the Cold Meal Program at Saint Luke’s have extended their pastoral care and community inclusion to our neighbours living across the street from the church.

We have developed a strong bond with these wonderful community members. We provide counselling, hot meals, water, clothing, harm reduction supplies, the use of our washrooms, as well as art and yoga classes.

We are witnessing a humanitarian disaster. People are being forced to live outside because the shelters are full. In the month of September on average 170 people per night were turned away from Toronto shelters. We know this number is much higher as people no longer call in for shelter beds having being denied them for two or more years.

Where will our friends go after they are evicted? The City has contracted guards to patrol the parks forcing people to scatter into remote places such as ravines, or ride public transit until it closes, others will be put into perpetual motion as they wander the City. These people will all be isolated and cut off from their support and social networks resulting in more suffering and deaths.

Forced eviction can never be a substitute for housing. However, it does inflict violence and trauma on the victims of the City’s failed housing policies.

If elected, we ask that you commit to doing everything possible to prevent forced evictions in the Ward and to be present to support our neighbours when these violent acts occur.

This violent act of displacement is imminent and we ask for your immediate response.

Sincerely,

Rev. Jim Keenan
Minister, Saint Luke’s U.C.,
Co-coordinator, the Out of the Cold Meal Program, Saint Luke’s U.C.

Rafi Aaron
Co-coordinator, the Out of the Cold Meal Program, Saint Luke’s U.C.,
Spokesperson, The Interfaith Coalition To Fight Homelessness

 

 

No Private Security In Public Parks

Click Here to sign this petition:

 

Dear Mayor Tory and Members of Council,

We are writing to denounce the City’s decision to source a private security firm to “patrol and monitor ” public parks with expanded responsibility including “physically removing” and legally arresting people. While the City spends millions of dollars to fund the policing of people who are homeless, major funding cuts to outreach drop ins and meal services have been announced and shelter hotel closures are in progress. The act of enhancing enforcement while cutting services is both cruel and ineffective. Policing people who stay in parks is a violent intervention that criminalizes homelessness, increases stigma and leads to trauma, stress and poor health. For these reasons forced displacement has been condemned by the Centers for Disease Control and United Nations. The City must end policies that perpetuate physical and structural violence towards people who are poor and immediately devote adequate resources to ending homelessness in our City.

People are sleeping outside and in encampments because they have nowhere else to go. There is a massive shortage of shelter and housing. According to City of Toronto statistics an average of 113 people searching for a shelter bed are turned away each night because no beds are available. Based on City data at least 2000 more shelter beds are required to meet the need. Closing shelter hotels and meal and drop-in programming will worsen this situation.

For many people existing shelters are not safe. This past January fifty sites- over half of all shelters- had an active COVID 19 outbreak. People must choose between sleeping outside or risking exposure to an infectious disease by staying in a crowded congregate shelter. In 2021 an average of six people per month died in Toronto shetlers from an opioid overdose. Most shelters have inadequate harm reduction measures and are not safe for people who use drugs.

People who are homeless frequently face violence and harassment from police and security services. They are kicked out of stores, parks and alleyways often based on appearance alone. Increasing policing within parks will only cause more trauma and hardship-  when shelter is not available people have no choice but to be outside. Forced displacement simply pushes people into other encampments or hidden places like ravines leading to isolation, poor health outcomes, and death.

The housing and shelter crisis was created by negligence and poor policy. The City is now brutalizing those impacted by bad housing policy by violently displacing those who have no option but to stay in an encampment. The City must end this harmful and futile practice and devote all resources to creating safe housing and shelter. Addressing the housing and shelter crisis is ultimately the only way to reduce the amount of people who must stay outside.

We call on the City of Toronto to:

1.  Immediately stop the eviction of encampment residents and the policing of public spaces. Devote the resources spent on private security to keeping drop-in and meal programs open.

2.  End the planned closure of shelter hotels. Closing shelters will force more people to spend the winter outside.

3.  Immediately add an additional 2,000 non-congregate spaces to the
shelter system to ensure everyone can access shelter.

4. Collaborate with Provincial and Federal governments to immediately build at least 10,000 rent geared to income units in Toronto and ensure the Rapid Housing Initiative is adequately funded on an ongoing basis.

5. Purchase and/or expropriate property to build social and supportive housing.

6. Immediately collaborate with people who use drugs to implement harm reduction measures into shelters. This may include creating supervised consumption sites, safety checks by request and permitting guests.

Sincerely,

Danielle Koyama, Frontline Worker
Cathy Crowe, Street Nurse
Greg Cook, Outreach Worker
Jessica Hales, Nurse Practitioner
Shelter and Housing Justice Network Steering Committee

 

For more information contact:

Shelter and Housing Justice Network
SHJToronto@gmail.com
https://twitter.com/SHJNetwork
https://www.facebook.com/ShelterHousingJusticeNetwork

 

 

 

 

 

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August – September 2022 Update

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Shelter and Housing Justice Network (SHJN)

August – September 2022 Update

Hello folks!

Update from SHJN:

Call to Action for Housing!

Every day the housing crisis across Canada escalates. In Iqaluit elders and youth are forced to sleep outside because there is nowhere else to go. In Kingston, as people struggle with the increased cost of living, more people are losing their housing and shelters are at capacity. In Vancouver, Halifax, Montreal, and in places across the country, people are forced to live in tents, bus shelters, ravines, because there is no where else to go.

In Toronto a state of emergency ensues. More and more people are priced out and pushed out of rental stock and shelters are at capacity. On average 113 people a day are denied access to basic shelter because no beds are available. Despite the dangerous shortage of shelter space the City is planning to close shelter hotels and continues to attack and displace encampment residents.

As winter approaches and temperatures drop the need for safe shelter is even more critical. Lives will be lost as a result of inadequate government action – we must Fight Back! November 22 is National Housing Day. The Shelter and Housing Justice Network (SHJN) is calling for a mass rally to send a loud message to all levels of government—leaving people to suffer and die from lack of shelter and housing can not be allowed to continue. They must build Social Housing Now!

We would like to invite all members of SHJN and concerned parties to help organize and build a November 22 National Housing Day action. To participate join our general members meetings on:

· Wednesday, September 21, 2022 @ 7:00-8:30pm

· Tuesday, October 18, 2022 @ 7:00-8:30pm

Link to join meetings: click here

For more information please email SHJToronto@gmail.com

SHJN — July 2022 Update: Fund The People

Hello there!

Update from SHJN:

As we move through the summer months, we invite you to take a look at SHJN’s monthly newsletter for July, which includes information about how to stay in touch with network as we organize for the fall.

With Toronto City Hall now on summer break and a municipal election scheduled for October, many of meetings and committees where issues related to housing and homelessness are discussed will now be on recess until 2023. So now, more than ever, SHJN wants to hear from you on issues related to housing, evictions, shelter access and encampments. Please reach out to SHJN so we can continue to share important information and concerns from the community.

Image: Queen’s Hotel Tenants Coalition, Parkdale People’s Economy, March 2020

READ THE COMPLETE NEWSLETTER HERE.

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