Emergency Action: Cuts Cost Lives, No More Homeless Deaths!

Callout from Ontario Coalition Against Poverty:

Emergency Action: Cuts Cost Lives, No More Homeless Deaths!

Friday, February 1st
Metro Hall, 55 John St. (King and John)

In the past week there have been two homeless deaths in Toronto– that
makes 36 in one year alone (that we know about)! This comes at a time when
the City of Toronto and the Province have both cut funding to homeless
prevention programs, shelters, and housing. These cuts cost lives.
Shelters are already overcrowded and there is a chronic lack of supports
and housing. Join us on Friday to demand that the City immediately release
contingency funding for shelters, reverse the cuts to shelters and
housing, make it easier for people to access the Housing Stabilization
Fund (the replacement to Community Start-Up), and stop lying to the public
about space in the shelter system and instead take action to end homeless

**We are calling on organizations and individuals to please sign-on to the
the statement of demands to the City. This Statement is below. On Friday
we will be delivering this.

To endorse this statement and to get involved, please contact: ocap@tao.ca
/ 416-925-6939

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Health Providers Against Poverty, Aids
Action Now!

February 1, 2013
Phillip Abrahams, Acting General Manager,
Shelter, Support and Housing Administration,
Metro Hall,
55 John Street,
Toronto, ON

Dear Mr. Abrahams:
In endorsing this statement we are calling upon you to act immediately to
deal with serious inadequacies with the City`s systems for dealing with
homeless people and those at risk of homelessness.  When we say the matter
is serious, we ask you to consider that at least thirty four homeless
people died in Toronto last year and two more have perished within the
last couple of weeks.

We call on you to take the following steps to respond to this urgent

1.      Immediately release the $3 million in contingency funding available to you
         to meet the shelter needs of the homeless in this City.

2.      Call upon Council to reverse the 2.9% cut to shelters put into effect
by the recent City Budget.  The worsening of the situation we are seeing
demands restoration of funding without delay.

3.      Remove several restrictions built into the new Housing Stabilization
Fund, replacing Community Start Up (CSUMB) that are clearly putting people
at risk.  Increase the amounts provided for the purchase of furniture
items, remove the provision that those who have been in institutions are
not eligible for funding if they have been in them for less than six
months.  Amend the policy to allow people to receive the benefit more
often than every two years in ‘exceptional circumstances’.  Establish a
reasonable appeal mechanism for those making applications.

4.      Instruct all who speak for your Division to stop pretending that the
amount of available shelter space is adequate to meet the needs and admit
that there is a crisis in this City.

5.      Call upon the Province to provide Toronto and other municipalities to
provide adequate funding for housing and shelter needs and to restore the

This letter is being delivered to you by a delegation from the
community.  Please act upon these demands with the urgency that the
situation requires and understand that inactivity in the face of this
appalling situation cannot be tolerated any longer.

-Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
-Health Providers Against Poverty
-Aids Action Now!

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