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(en) Canada, Toronto, OCAP blitzes City Council over anti-homeless by-law

From Mick <mickblack47@yahoo.com>
Date Tue, 4 Feb 2003 15:25:25 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

> From: OCAP <ocap@tao.ca>
About 10 OCAP members went to Toronto City Council this morning to
challenge the proposed shelter by-law that looks like it will pass during
this session of Council.  The by-law proposes a moratorium on shelter beds
in areas of city where shelters already exist, as well as limiting new
services.  Among other things, it also looks to put trainee cops on as
shelter security.  OCAP members blitzed the chamber by taking the floor
and handing out a letter to bewildered, annoyed and defensive councillors.
Pam McConnell, Rob Ford and Mel himself were visibly distressed by the
incident, while security quickly took to pushing and shoving OCAP-ers out
of the chambers.  Discussion of the by-law was taken off the agenda today,
and will be talked about at 9:30am this Thursday.  The Toronto Disaster
Relief Committee is organizing a prescense in chambers on that day, and it
wouldn't hurt for OCAP members to be there as well. The letter distributed
today is as follows:

To Pam McConnell, Kyle Rae and Toronto City Councillors,

     This morning City Council will consider a motion to enact a municipal
shelter by-law, which will negatively affect many people living in the
East End of downtown Toronto specifically in wards 27 and 28.  While we
have no problem with shelters and other social services being extended to
areas of the city that are desperately lacking such support, freezing the
expansion of a system that doesn't even come close to meeting existing
needs is inhumane and unjust.

     Since the last time City Council met, three people have frozen to
death on the streets of downtown Toronto.  Limiting the areas,
neighbourhoods and even streets in the city where new shelters can be
built coupled with a requirement for explicit council permission of any
new construction is a regressive step in dealing positively with the
crisis in this city.

     We are also particularly concerned with the recommendation that the
Toronto Police Services Board consider using police recruits as security
in the hostel system.  We demand that you reconsider this action and
advise you that under no circumstances will we remain silent while such a
blatant indignity is imposed upon residents of any shelter.

     Considering the deplorable conditions that exist in all municipal
shelters and the severe shortage of funding for hostels and social
services in this city, OCAP demands an immediate expansion of facilities
across the entire city including the East End of downtown where it is
clear the need exists.  We do not take the death of people living on the
street lightly and will not accept a by-law that contributes to such a
senseless loss of life.

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

		   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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