March 2, 2021: Toronto Star TTC drivers want support for homeless riding transit

TTC drivers want support for homeless riding transit during COVID-19 crisis

“As public transit workers we are compassionate individuals, but at the end of the day, we are not social workers,” the petition reads. “We demand that all levels of government mobilize the resources to solve this crisis immediately.”

Roxie Danielson of the Street Nurse Network said many of those in Toronto experiencing homelessness have been forced outside during the pandemic because places where they normally take refuge like libraries or coffee shops are no longer open.

The shelter system houses 6,000 people a night but is at capacity—in recent weeks occupancy at men’s facilities was at 99.9 per cent—and many won’t stay in city shelters out of fear of catching COVID-19, especially now that variants of concern have been identified at some sites.

“As it stands right now it’s so difficult to get somebody a safe place to stay, so the TTC really is the next best option (for many),” Danielson said.

She acknowledged people experiencing homelessness can pose challenges for TTC employees, especially if they aren’t trained to deal with someone who is in crisis or using drugs. But she said homeless residents shouldn’t be blamed for seeking out one of the few remaining safe spaces in the city.

“I place the blame squarely on our government. Had we had enough funding for more housing, for more mental health and addiction supports then this wouldn’t be happening,” she said.

“Nobody should have to sleep on the TTC because they can’t get a bed somewhere.”

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.

Dec 3, 2020. Dismantling Stubborn Structures

“When it comes to encampments and their residents, the City of Toronto and its politicians are saying one thing, but doing another. This short doc exposes what we and others in the Encampment Support Network have been documenting on the ground, including interviews with residents and footage from encampment clearings” #NoEncampmentEvictions

Dec 1, 2020. The Current with Matt Galloway

“…as winter takes hold, Toronto carpenter Khaleel Seivwright has been building tiny shelters for unhoused people. But city officials say they’re unsafe and have threatened legal action. We hear from Seivwright and discuss the scale of the crisis with Cathy Crowe, a street nurse and a distinguished visiting practitioner in politics and public administration at Ryerson University, and David Hulchanski, professor of housing and community development at the University of Toronto.”