Posts Tagged ‘ OCAP ’

Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) Speaking Tour coming to Kitchener and Ottawa this May!

 

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From May 4-15th, Ellen Clifford from DPAC will be on a provincial speaking tour, visiting Toronto, Kitchener, Sudbury, Kingston and Ottawa. Ellen has been campaigning with the disabled people’s movement for 15 years and, since 2011, has sat on the National Steering Committee of DPAC. She is also a member of Unite the Union and works to build solidarity between workers in unions and those forced to live on social benefits.

The Cameron Government in the UK has implemented brutal cuts to programs for unemployed and disabled people. This includes a system called the Work Capability Assessment that has been used to deny benefits to thousands of people.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) is an organization in the UK that has been at the forefront of challenging this situation.  It has mobilized disabled people to fight back and formed alliances with community organizations and unions in resisting the austerity measures of the Cameron Government. The hated private company, Atos, that was carrying out the assessments of sick and disabled people has been forced to quit as a result of the powerful resistance DPAC and others have take up.

Here in Ontario, we also face major attacks. Ontario Works and ODSP rates are too low to enable people to pay their rent and eat properly. The Special Diet and Community Start Up have been slashed. There is a very real threat that the Government here will merge OW and ODSP and bring in a UK style assessment system. We need to understand what is happening in that country and how people are fighting back against the attacks.

Poverty Makes Us Sick is very excited to host stops in both Kitchener and Ottawa as a part of the provincial tour.

The Ottawa stop of the tour will be on Wednesday, May 7th, at 6:30pm. This event, with local speakers, Raise the Rates Campaign founders from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and Ellen Clifford of DPAC, will also serve as the public re-launch of the Raise the Rates Campaign in Ottawa.  Space has been provided by the Somerset West Community Health Centre (55 Eccles St) and is fully accessible. A meal will be included and bus tickets will be available. Childcare, ASL and French whisper interpretation will be provided as needed (please confirm by May 1st).

The Kitchener stop of the tour will be on Tuesday, May 13th, at 7pm.  It will be held at the Queen Street Commons (43 Queen St S).  A light meal will be provided.  The Commons is wheelchair accessible and has one single-occupancy washroom.  It is a kid-friendly space. Vegan and gluten-free foods will be available.

For more information call Poverty Makes Us Sick, (613) 220-0554 or email forspecialdiet@gmail.com.
Facebook events –
Kitchener: http://www.facebook.com/events/225928060937800
Ottawa: http://www.facebook.com/events/685486958164060

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Raise the Rates March on Liberal Convention – GET ON THE BUS!!

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Poverty Makes Us Sick is organizing free buses from both Kitchener AND Ottawa!

STOP THE LIBERAL WAR ON THE POOR
Raise the Rates March to the Ontario Liberal Party Convention

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
Metro Hall, Toronto
Meal, rally and march (beginning at 1pm)

Free bus leaving from Kitchener City Hall (Duke & College) at 11am sharp, returning by 7pm*

Free bus leaving Ottawa from Bronson Centre (211 Bronson Ave.) at 8am sharp, returning by 9pm*

Kathleen Wynne is every inch a Liberal. She talks about poverty reduction while imposing deeper poverty on communities. She has been a leading member of the Government all along while social assistance (OW and ODSP) rates have lost even more of their spending power. She was a cabinet minister while the minimum wage was frozen, while the Special Diet was slashed and while the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit was being eliminated. There is no question that the Liberals added their own misery to the brutal cuts that the Harris Tories imposed in 1995. Today a single person on Ontario Works is expected to survive on just $626 a month, while rent and cost of living continues to rise beyond reach.

As we head into another round of provincial elections in the spring, we will not be swayed by fake gestures and empty rhetoric from any politicians.

We’re going to march on the Convention to demand from all parties:
– Raise OW and ODSP 55% to restore the spending power lost since 1995!
– Provide a $14 an hour minimum wage fully indexed to inflation!
– Fully restore the Special Diet and Community Start Up Benefits!
– No merger of OW and ODSP, stop the attack on Disability benefits!

*Bagged lunches provided on the bus.  Ensuring this event is accessible to all is a priority – contact us to discuss details.

For more Information or to get on the bus, email forspecialdiet@gmail.com or find us at www.facebook.com/groups/PovertyMakesUsSick/.

 

Organized and Endorsed by: Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty, Kingston Coalition Against Poverty, Poverty Makes Us Sick Waterloo Region, Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, Parkdale Against Poverty, CUPE – Ontario, OPSEU, and more!

 

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
12noon
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
deaths!

**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
situation:-

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
CSUMB.

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.

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

COMMUNITY START UP AND MAINTAINANCE BENEFIT

The Ontario budget for 2012 calls for the cancellation of the Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit and the Home Repairs Benefit (CSUMB).  The cuts are scheduled to take effect in January 2013.

Cutting these vital benefits will ensure that many people are thrown into an endless cycle of poverty, violence, houselessness, isolation and institutionalization.

The cuts will have a devastating impact on the nearly 900,000 people living in Ontario who currently rely on Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) for their incomes.  OW and ODSP currently offer despicably low monthly rates, already far below the poverty line.

Most people living on OW and ODSP are renters. CSUMB, sometimes called simply CSU, provides funds of up to $800 once every two years, for people on OW and ODSP to maintain their housing. Essentially, this is a homelessness prevention benefit.  It is also about offering people the necessary economic mobility required to keep themselves, and their children, in safe living conditions.

It helps people pay for things like first and last month’s rent deposits. It helps people buy or replace furniture. It helps people put down deposits on utilities or pay overdue utility bills.  The loss of CSUMB will hurt many people who otherwise cannot afford these expenses. OW and ODSP incomes do not allow any wiggle room for one to save for the costs that the CSUMB currently covers.

People on assistance are already getting free bus tickets from churches to get to the food bank.  No one is saving up first and last month’s rent!!

The people who will be hurt by these cuts include:

women and young people who are fleeing violence where they live or are trying to move from transition shelters into permanent homes after experiencing domestic violence. Denying people access to mobility is nothing short of complicity in gendered violence, which is systemic in our society.

–  people trying to move from shelters into permanent homes.

people transitioning from prison into society.  Without the ability to pay first and last month’s rent, as is mandatory for renters, those who our government has imprisoned will be likely to be re-arrested for issues associated with houselessness such as failing to report to parole or probation officers, living without a fixed address, or being forced to steal food and clothes.

people leaving psychiatric units.  Someone on OW who is forcefully abducted and locked in a Psych Unit might not be allowed or able to submit their monthly report card to OW. Even though there are social workers employed by the hospital who ought to see to this, they never do – ever.  When OW reports aren’t submitted, a recipient is placed on suspension and can lose their coverage through OW.   Certainly in the case of an extended stay a consumer will have little to no financial supports.  Even if they are signed up before they are discharged they will not have enough to pay first and last month’s rent, let alone pay for food and transportation

(new) parents who need to move into a living situation that the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) will not deem unsafe.

people dealing with unhealthy barriers to an adequate quality of life, such as bedbug infestations or mold.

people who cannot afford the rising cost of energy.

Currently, about 16,000 Ontarians rely on these benefits each month.

Municipalities across Ontario are very concerned about the loss of these two benefits, as well as the cap that the 2012 budget puts on discretionary health-related benefits.

We call on housing workers, community legal clinic caseworkers, and others who support people living in poverty on OW and ODSP to act to protect these programs, and to not merely express concern that these cuts will result in more hardship, more desperation, and in fact more homelessness among people on assistance.

On June 4th, seven First Nations communities from the North Shore of Lake Huron held a rally against these cuts held at Queen’s Park.  They have since protested in Sudbury as well.

OCAP is coordinating a province-wide response to these cuts.

Poverty Makes Us Sick is hosting an info night, including a core organizer with OCAP, on Tuesday July 11th at the Queen St. Commons Café in Kitchener from 7-9pm.

Action will follow.

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