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(en) Canada, Toronto, EMERGENCY MEETING TO DEFEND THE POPE SQUAT

From Mick <mickblack47@yahoo.com>
Date Wed, 6 Nov 2002 07:15:29 -0500 (EST)


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> From: OCAP <ocap@tao.ca>
EMERGENCY MEETING TO DEFEND THE POPE SQUAT
HELP OCAP GET 1510 KING ST. UP TO FIRE CODE!

Thursday November 7th 6PM
P.A.R.C. 1499 Queen Street West

    Last week, the Fire Marshall closed down the Pope Squat at 1510 King
Street West and put dozens of residents out on the street.  He was acting
as a puppet of the Provincial Government and all the vested interests who
want to defend their 'right' to board up housing and let it rot while
thousands are homeless.

    OCAP is determined to reclaim the Pope Squat for those who made it
their home for three months.  If repairs and renovations are needed, we
will work to bring it up to the required standards.  We are lining up the
materials, equipment and skilled trades-people we will need to do this job
and, in the next few days, will announce the date when the renovating of
the Pope Squat will begin.

 We appeal to all supporters to come out on Thursday.  There will be only
three items on the agenda:

1.  Assembling and equipping the crews and helpers needed to work on the
building.

2. Finding the supports and resources to assist the dozens of squat
residents who have been put back out on the streets.  One night's stay in
the city hostels and a few Tim Horton vouchers were all the evicted people
were provided.  We need to find the support in the community that will
enable them to survive until they get their home back.

3. Getting the work underway.

    Please come out to the meeting and add your support to the fight for
housing in Parkdale and throughout the City.

-------------------------------------------------
POPE SQUAT UPDATE

Saturday, November 2nd

	On the day after the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario
threw the tenants of 1510 King onto the street, seeing fit only to offer
people a night in the already overcrowded shelter system and $5 food
vouchers, an emergency public meeting to discuss the Pope Squat was held
at Parkdale Activity and Recreation Centre. The crowd in attendance left
an hour of firsthand testimony by residents of the Squat and calls to
action to march on 1510 King, with the intention of reclaiming and
renovating a building which has been home to more than 30 people over the
past three months.

	The demonstration arrived to find the front door of 1510 King
unlocked and the premises virtually unguarded, save City workers busy
putting finishing touches on the boarding up of windows. The morning was
spent clearing garbage, uncovering windows and doors, and beginning basic
drywall construction - all in an effort to bring the Pope Squat up to
code.

	Police were eventually forced to bring the City of Toronto Deputy
Fire Chief, Terry Boyko, to the building in order to negotiate the next
step. Residents, OCAP members and supporters agreed to vacate the premises
in exchange for a meeting with Boyko, at which the details of making the
building livable for its residents would be discussed. All three residents
and OCAP members who were arrested during Friday's eviction were released
after a night in jail.

Monday, November 4th

	In conversation with Boyko, OCAP was informed that the Deputy Fire
Chief would go no further than re-stating his position that no persons be
allowed on the property of 1510 King whatsoever - be it for renovations or
occupancy purposes. Aside from being a questionable legal position, his
words also failed to address the crisis faced by Pope Squat residents, who
had spent the past several days in the shelter system or out on the wintry
streets.

	As a result, squatters and OCAP members decided to take the
emergency situation to City of Toronto officials, in the hopes that,
interim housing could be negotiated. Visits to the offices of Chris
Korwin-Kuczynski, Pam McConnell and others proved futile, forcing the
group to descend upon Metro Hall and the office of Phil Brown, head of
Toronto Shelter, Housing and Support. After several hours of adamant
demands, in which it was put to Brown that he provide the evicted
residents of 1510 King with interim motel housing - a decision he is well
empowered to make - again the City could do no better than the paltry
offer of shelter beds for the night. And again, the residents of 1510 King
are left without options, without any show of respect from the powers that
saw fit to throw them out of their home.

	This home, the Pope Squat, now stands empty. The City and the
Province spend their precious dollars on security guards and plywood,
refusing in any way to take responsibility for the crisis they have long
since created. And the winter has begun. This is unacceptable - OCAP and
residents of the Pope Squat are determined to bring 1510 King up to code,
to ensure that this building can once again exist as a home.

HOUSING FOR ALL.

NO MORE ABANDONED BUILDINGS WHILE SHELTERS ARE FULL.

IF THEY WON'T BUILD IT, WE WILL TAKE IT.

			       **
		   Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
	517 College Street, Suite 234  Toronto, Ontario  M5G 4A2
	     416-925-6939   ocap@tao.ca   www.ocap.ca
			       **


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