OCAP Occupies Sheraton Hotel to Protest Closure of Shelter Spaces and Gentrification! #HomelessSheraton


Image description: Two OCAP members hold a banner saying "FIGHT TO WIN" in the middle of a hotel lobby. Next to them, another OCAP member is holding an orange sign reading "REPLACE THE HOPE SHELTER". In the background, a security officer looks on nervously

Today, members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty occupied the lobby of the posh Sheraton Centre Hotel (123 Queen Street West, just west of Queen and York, across from City Hall)! We held the lobby for nearly an hour before being pushed out under threat of arrest.

Raise the Rates Week of Action: Rally at Glen Murray's Office! Thursday, May 21, 12:30PM, 120 Carlton St.


Image description: OCAP members gather outside Glen Murray's former office in November 2013. In the window are pink "Raise the Rates" signs

Stop Liberal Austerity and the War on the Poor!

Rally at office of Glenn Murray, MPP
120 Carlton (at Jarvis)
Thursday, May 21
12.30 PM

Free meal served!

The Fight for the Special Diet Made a Difference that Hasn't Been Wiped Out!

Image description: a man with a small child on his back holding a sign reading "Hands off my Special Diet!" with a red hand print in the middle

In 2005, OCAP took up the fight to access the Special Diet for People on Ontario Works and ODSP. Our hunger clinics and actions to demand access to the benefit spread and huge numbers of people in poverty won additional income to protect their health and feed themselves and their families.

Despite all the efforts to limit the Special Diet, which have caused a great deal of hardship to many in Ontario, we suspected that access to the benefit had not been driven back to the point it was at in 2004. Now, figures we have obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, more than confirm this.

In 2004, average monthly Special Diet cases in Ontario numbered 44,774 with expenditure on the benefit for that year running at $57.6 million. The following year, as the OCAP initiated campaign got underway, monthly SD caseload rose to 75,628 and the expenditure went up to $128.5 milliion. The Liberal Government's efforts to crush these gains continued but, by 2010, monthly SD cases had risen to 140,733 and expenditure to $209.9 million. With all the brutal measures to restrict access that took effect in recent years, we might have assumed these gains would have been rolled back but the last complete year we have figures for, 2013, shows monthly cases at 148,258 and expenditure at $257.3 million. Only partial figures have been obtained for 2014 but average monthly cases comes in at 155,269.

Invisible Austerity: An Illustrated Guide to Cuts to Social Assistance in Ontario

This comic explains the invisible austerity program that the Liberals have implemented, attacking poor people in this province. It goes through social assistance rules cut by cut and shows how things have gotten worse under the Liberals. It shows how poor people have lost important benefits and how Kathleen Wynne has no right to call herself "The Social Justice Pemier"


Click here to read the comic



Official Raise the Rates Campaign Statement on ODSP Medical Reviews


Image description: OCAP members march behind a white banner saying RAISE WELFARE AND DISABILITY RATES 55% NOW!

OFFICIAL RAISE THE RATES CAMPAIGN STATEMENT ON ODSP MEDICAL REVIEWS

The Medical Reviews for those on ODSP must be suspended!

The Raise the Rates campaign of community groups and unions calls on the Wynne Government to immediately suspend the implementation of medical reviews for people on ODSP. The accelerated review process is occurring at the worst possible time for people living in poverty and under conditions that have not been properly prepared.

UPDATE: OCAP Wins Fight for 24 Hour Women and Trans* Drop-In Spaces! All Charges Against November 25 Arrestees Withdrawn!

Dear friends and allies,

Today we are happy to announce two important updates on the fight for 24 hour women and trans* drop-ins in Toronto:

1) Most importantly, we have WON 24 hour drop-ins in Toronto! Funds for the women & trans* drop-ins were passed during this year’s budget process. The 2015 Operating Budget for shelter, housing and support, as approved by City Council last week, includes new funding of $2,250,000 in 2015 for new 24 hour drop-in services for women and trans* people, increasing to $3,000,000 in 2016 and beyond. Spaces are confirmed and it is only a matter of weeks before we will see the drop-ins opened (more info on specific opening dates and locations to be sent out soon). We are proud of the work we have done and what we accomplished together with our allies during this collective struggle. We have drawn attention to the violence that street involved women face and the need for increased services for people who are homeless in Toronto. This is an important victory - services like these save lives.

2) This morning all charges were withdrawn against all 5 OCAP women who took part in the action on November 25th. In return the women agreed to provide 30 hours of community service.

Save the Hope Shelter! Toronto Can't Lose 124 Shelter Beds!

News that the Salvation Army Hope Shelter, at McCaul and College, is set to close on April 15 constitutes a devastating blow. The shelter system is horribly overcrowded and all assurances that the City’s policy of keeping occupancy levels at no more than 90% will finally be adhered to have proven to be false. This particular shelter, located in the underserviced west end, is consistently operating at maximum capacity. Four homeless men died in January and the removal of 124 beds from the system simply can’t be allowed to happen.

Support The Struggle And Become An OCAP Sustainer

As little as $10 a month can help us maintain our work across this city and it just got easier to give.

For close to 20 years the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty has been at the forefront of community based resistance to regressive social policy from all levels of government. We have helped inspire numerous groups across this country and continent, been studied in universities and college programs and most importantly we have time after time organized poor communities to stand up and take what’s theirs. To fight for their dignity and for justice.

Today we are engaged day to day in the fight against City Hall, Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill. Making sure that repairs are done in community housing, fighting for each and every entitlement on welfare and disability and working to win fundamental changes that will mean better housing, more to eat and better social programs.

All of this continues to be carried out on a shoestring budget. Year after year we scrape by on the generosity of our members and supporters, primarily by those who answer our emergency appeals for cash when we are on the brink of laying off staff or closing our office. Our monthly expenses are by no means outrageous. We pay our staff what we can, cover basic bills and operate a small office. Every month we are thousands of dollars short of covering our expenses.

Our goal is to change all of that by the end of this year. We are looking for all supporters of our work to pitch in and help support the struggle by becoming a part of our monthly sustainers program. Please only donate what you can. Five dollars helps. Ten dollars helps. And if you can afford to give more please do.

To become a monthly sustainer, send a void cheque with amount and which date of the month you'd prefer it to be processed to:

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
157 Carlton, # 206,
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 2K3

For more information call us at 416-925-6939 or email ocap@tao.ca.

Syndicate content