A SUMMER OF DISCONTENT AND ACTION:
The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) has campaigned for years now on behalf of homeless and other poor people in Ontario. They have proven that direct action tactics work in this context. This summer they intend to continue their ongoing campaigns and escalate the struggle against gentrification in Toronto, with a "takeover" of a city park by the homeless. But they need your help. Please read the following appeal and respond if you can.
Fight Poverty in the Park - Your support needed
WAR ON HOMELESS IN THE DOWNTOWN EAST
Appeal for Support and Resources for Fight Back
A war is underway in the central part of this City. On the one side are long established low income neighbourhoods and large homeless populations.Pitted against them are the forces of upscale, urban redevelopment - the developers, the tourist industry, the 'resident' and business associations, the cops and the politicians.
As the oversupply of housing for the well off creeps into poor areas of the City, as ruthless drive to push out the homeless gathers force. People are targeted by the cops. Those forced to beg on the streets are hounded and their civil liberties disregarded. Services to the homeless are curtailed by the City. Hundreds of shelter beds are taken out of the hostel system and the places that remain become overcrowded hell holes.Under the 'Streets to Homes' project, homeless people are dumped in tiny rooms with no resources and no support, in conditions that make even the shelters look humane.
The war on homeless people has grown uglier with a speed that shocks even the most hardened service providers. OCAP is taking the lead in resisting this outrageous situation. We held a mass panhandle in the underground 'Path' commercial network. We have taken delegations to City Hall to expose and challenge the neglect. We set up a special night of shelter at Central Neighbourhood House to coincide with the end of the 'Out of the Cold' program run by the churches. This laid bare the fact that hundreds more have nowhere to turn and must go back to the streets.
In the summer, we will defy the whole process of upscale development and its champions with a takeover of a city park for the homeless. We will make sure that the covert war to drive the homeless from view is made into a public issue and we will build up the resistance of the homeless and their allies.
For this struggle, we must have resources. We will need to produce and distribute hundreds of leaflets and posters. We will need a large supply of TTC tokens to enable homeless people to participate. Food will have to be supplied at all the events we organize, including a number of meals and snacks for the campout. The campout will also require a range of supplies and equipment.
OCAP is already fully committed to a major fight to win repairs for public housing tenants. We continue to organize Special Diet clinics that put millions of dollars into the pockets of low income people and families.We are stretched to the limit and need help desperately. Please send cheques to OCAP at 10 Britain Street M5A 1R6. (Earmark them 'Homeless Fightback') Call us at (416) 925-6939 to discuss how you and your organization can back this vital campaign. Thanks, OCAP