The fight for 214 – 230 Sherbourne: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

The fight for 214 – 230 Sherbourne:
When: Tuesday March 2nd, 2021
The Planning and Housing Committee is meeting on March 2nd but their report does not include the expropriation of 214-230 Sherbourne, but rather only a vague 2 paragraphs on the issue. The desperate need for housing at that corner cannot be ignored. There are a few actions that you can do to support:
a. Email the members of the Planning and Housing Committee to express your organization’s support for the immediate action to expropriate the property at 214-230 Sherbourne to build social housing:

–       Ana Bailao  councillor_bailao@toronto.ca

–       Brad Bradford  councillor_bradford@toronto.ca

–       Paula Fletcher  councillor_fletcher@toronto.ca

–       Frances Nunziata  councillor_nunziata@toronto.ca

–       Gord Perks  councillor_perks@toronto.ca

–       Kristyn Wong-Tam  councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca

b. Email Abigail Bond, Executive Director, Housing Secretariat to use the City staff to act now to proceed with the expropriation of 214-230 SHerboune

–       Abigail Bond  Abigail.bond@toronto.ca

c. Make a deputation (or submit in writing) to the March 2nd Planning and Housing Committee meeting to advocate that the City pursue the purchase or expropriation of the site for social housing now given the current shelter and housing crisis. Email the clerk to submit or sign up for a deputation: phc@toronto.ca
If you have any questions, please contact Lindsay Windhager at lindsayw@regentparkchc.org.

TDIN Releases Advocacy Letter with Sign-on From 49 Organizations

On Wednesday, February 10, 2021, TDIN released a letter with other advocates: Demands for Immediate Action to Address COVID-related Risks and Harms for People Experiencing Homelessness.

This letter is calling on all three levels of government to take action to address the emergency situation of increasing COVID cases among people experiencing homelessness.

To read the letter or to sign on your organization, visit: tinyurl.com/3db3ov73

Demand the City Drop Legal Action Against Toronto Tiny Shelters: Two Phone and Email Zaps

Demand the City Drop Legal Action Against Toronto Tiny Shelters: Two Phone and Email Zaps
Join SURJ TO and ESN in two phone and email zaps in support of Toronto Tiny Shelters. Demand that the City of Toronto drop the notice of legal action against Khaleel Seivwright, create rent-geared to income housing, ban encampment evictions, end the criminalization of poverty, and defund the police – including Park Ambassadors. Registration for the event below:
 

Update: Recent legal action against Khaleel Seivwright

In light of the City placing an injunction against Khaleel and Tiny Shelters, watch Khaleel’s powerful video statement and demand that the City drop charges against him:
 
As well, if you haven’t already, please sign and share the petition by Toronto Tiny Shelters demanding that Tiny Shelters remain on City of Toronto Property: 
https://www.change.org/p/city-of-toronto-demand-to-allow-temporary-shelters-to-remain-on-toronto-city-land

ESN action to Serve John Tory

ESN has invited SHJN and network members attended this action to Serve John Tory (see below and updates in Media)
Sign and send this letter to John Tory and your City Councillor to demand that the city drop their legal actions against Khaleel, impose a moratorium on encampment clearings, and repeal the by-laws that make it illegal to camp in public parks.
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COME ONE COME ALL!

SERVE MAYOR TORY

SUNDAY FEBRUARY 28th

When: Sunday, February 28th, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where: 248 Bloor Street W. ~ Bloor Bedford Parkette

How it works:

Come to Bloor Bedford Parkette anytime between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Volunteers will be present to provide you with a copy of our notice of action from the Superior Court of the People, which you can then sign and deliver to Mayor Tory at his place of residence. We’re inviting Mayor Tory to come down and meet us, but if he doesn’t we’ll have a proxy there for him.

This is a family-friendly event and we will be marshalling to ensure everyone keeps physical distance as we line up to serve John Tory. Pretend it’s HomeSense. Don’t congregate and linger. Wear PPE.

Accessibility: closest accessible subway station is St. George

We will have accessibility marshalls on hand. It is a short walk between Bloor Bedford Parkette and Mayor Tory’s Condominium. We do not know how long you will have to wait to serve John Tory, but we will have some chairs available.

OPEN LETTER TO MAYOR TORY: CALL OFF THE HOMELESS SWEEPS

Dear Mayor John Tory,

The Parks, Forestry and Recreation department has said it will be dismantling homeless encampments in the Rosedale valley on January 7, 2020.

There is no justification for these sweeps in the midst of a deadly shortage of shelter space in the city. People are camped outside in the bitter cold because the housing crisis rages on unchecked and the City’s shelter system is overwhelmed. Conditions within these emergency centres are difficult and often unsafe because of chronic overcrowding, short-staffing and a general lack of necessary resources. The private market is such that even those able to access the housing allowance find it impossible to find a place to rent.

Forcibly dismantling homeless encampments – be they under the Gardiner or in the Rosedale valley – is nothing more than an attempt to make homelessness invisible rather than addressing the problem. In the absence of adequate shelter or housing, the encampments just rise up once again. Despite having seen this time and again, the administration continues to subject homeless people to the ritualized humiliation and hardship of being displaced and having their belongings confiscated, only to then be informed that the emergency system is full.

You must call off these brutal sweeps, starting with the one planned for January 7, and focus City resources on adding sufficient shelter spaces and building publicly owned rent-geared-to-income housing. That’s the only way to make sure no one has to resort to sleeping under bridges and in the ravines of this wealthy city. Our network will be mobilizing around the upcoming sweep and will challenge attempts at evicting people that your administration has effectively abandoned to the streets.

Sincerely,

Rafi Aaron, Interfaith Coalition to Fight Homelessness

Yogi Acharya and Cat Chhina, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

Greg Cook, Sanctuary Outreach

Cathy Crowe, Street Nurse

Bob Rose on behalf of the

Shelter and Housing Justice Network

Mayor Tory: Declare Homelessness An Emergency To Prevent More Deaths And Suffering

Shelter and Housing Justice Network started this petition to Mayor John Tory (Mayor, City of Toronto)

To sign the petition, visit the Change.org:  Petition Link

This past month there have been eight reported homeless deaths in the City of Toronto.

The City has failed to shelter the most vulnerable. All seven Respite Centres are full, the two 24-hour women’s drop-ins and the Out of the Cold program are over capacity on many nights. The Assessment and Referral Centre on Peter Street is unable to operate as a referral centre as there are insufficient beds in the system.

Instead, fifty people sleep in chairs there each night. They are the lucky ones. Hundreds upon hundreds of people are forced to sleep outside due to failed shelter and housing policies. They are in grave danger. Their precarious situation has been exacerbated by the onslaught of an early winter leaving them completely exposed and vulnerable.

A walk through the city confirms what front-line workers are telling us: there have never been this many people sleeping in our streets and parks before. The number of beds the City plans to bring on-line will not be sufficient to accommodate those in need. Furthermore, during an Extreme Cold Weather Alert there is only one Warming Centre that sleeps 50 people for the entire City.

In order to prevent more deaths and suffering, we request that you enact the City of Toronto Emergency Plan immediately.  

WHY THE CITY OF TORONTO EMERGENCY PLAN IS THE ONLY RESPONSE

The aim of the City of Toronto Emergency Plan is to provide the framework for extraordinary arrangements and measures that can be taken to protect the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the City of Toronto. It would allow the Mayor to:

1. Make a formal statement declaring that homelessness and the social housing situation are an emergency necessitating immediate action.
2. Request help from the Federal and Provincial governments for funding and resources necessary to deal with this deadly crisis.
3. Establish an Emergency Task Force from relevant departments at the City, including Public Health; Shelter, Support and Housing Administration; Emergency Management; Real Estate; Parks, Forestry and Recreation; for the purpose of resolving issues related to the crisis.
4. Create a Building Team from all three levels of government that would identify vacant buildings owned by the City, Federal and Provincial governments that can be used to immediately shelter the hundreds who are homeless.
5. Redeploy staff from various City departments to implement the decisions of the
Emergency Task Force and to provide support at respite sites, warming centres, and overnight drop-ins.
6. Invite the Red Cross to assist with emergency respite and warming centre operations, as they did in the winter of 2017-2018.
7. Move the only Warming Centre that currently operates in a hallway at Metro Hall, to a more accessible and spacious site.
8. Create four to six additional Warming Centres throughout Toronto that would allow people to easily access them.
9. Improve the safety and health outcomes in all Respite Centres that have 100 or more people staying in them by reducing capacity by one third.
10. Fast track a 4th Sprung Structure.
11. Implement the recommendations of the Faulkner Inquest, including the distribution of survival equipment and supplies (sleeping bags, fire retardant blankets, safe heat sources) to people who are living outside. Tents must be added to this list. Fund additional outreach teams to distribute these items.
12. Impose a moratorium on evictions of people living in all public spaces, including parks, ravines, and encampments.
13. Impose a moratorium on the removal of all encampments.
14. Create an emergency rent supplement program to prioritize the housing of vulnerable people including seniors and those with disabilities.
15. Allow the Building Team to devise and implement a strategy for the creation of 2,000 permanent shelter beds.
16. Allow the Building Team to devise and implement a five-year strategy for the building of transitional, supportive and rent-geared-to-income (RGI) social housing.
17. Expropriate buildings, left unused and vacant by owners, for immediate conversion to RGI social housing such as single room dwellings or transitional housing.
18. Extend the timeframe of all emergency shelters and Respite Centres so they operate year-round.
19. Create one hundred beds to replace those lost when the Out of the Cold program shuts down in April.

We believe that homelessness needs to be declared as a state of emergency in the City of Toronto. We have witnessed homelessness increase in recent years and the municipal response has proved to be totally inadequate. Lives are at stake.

THE SHELTER AND HOUSING JUSTICE NETWORK

The Shelter and Housing Justice Network (SHJN) is an experienced group of frontline workers, health providers, faith groups, advocates, community leaders and organizations.

SHJN can be reached at:

SHJToronto@gmail.com

@SHJNetwork

Shelter and Housing Justice Network postcard action winter 2019-2020

This action is an effort to channel the sadness and stress of all service providers in Toronto who witness the struggles of individuals living without the dignity they deserve.

It is for service providers to have the opportunity to manifest the stress we feel. You might have the feeling that those whom we support should be given voice rather than us. This card is not doing that.

It rather chooses to recognize that those whom we support do enough politically by breathing in the struggle all the time and that it is rarely rewarding if not traumatic for them to tell their stories to politicians who even without such intent practice systemic erasure.

How does this action work?

– please sign one card and distribute the others in your network for signatures
– please collect all these signed cards again
– then, return them to SHJN asap
– if nothing has been arranged for the return and no information is on this website, please contact gregc@sanctuarytoronto.ca

SHJN will organise a delivery to Mayor John Tory in the new year that will be respectful of your voice.

We’ve endorsed! Open Letter Regarding Cuts to LAO Immigration and Refugee Services

Although the cuts to services for immigrants and refugees have been the deepest, the 30% cut to Legal Aid Ontario’s budget has also resulted in cuts to criminal and family law services, as well as to the budgets of community legal clinics. We know that these cuts have already resulted in the loss of front-line services (despite promises by Premier Ford), and will hit the most vulnerable people in Ontario the hardest.

For more information about how to take action on cuts to Legal Aid Ontario:

* Stop the Cuts: Access to Justice for All!
* Stop Legal Aid Cuts
* Reverse the Cuts to Parkdale Community Legal Services

PDF of the Open Letter and Endorsements