OCAP | Uncategorized
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty is a direct action anti-poverty organization that fights for more shelter beds, social housing, and a raise in social assistance rates.
poverty, homelessness, housing, social assistance, ontario works, odsp, anti-poverty. ocap. ontario coalition against poverty, shelters,

OCAP Statement regarding Encampment Clearing at Trinity Bellwoods

OCAP Denounces the Repressive Violence in Clearing Unhoused People from Trinity Bellwoods Park

June 22, 2021
On the morning of June 22, 2021, hundreds of Toronto Police Service officers (TPS) and privately contracted security officers descended on Trinity Bellwoods Park to remove houseless people living in tents with tenuous promises of shelter or by force if necessary. Residents of Toronto mobilized to prevent the unnecessary and heartless removal of those residing in the park without any other safe place to live. Police erected fencing around the perimeter of the park, boxing in residents and supporters, effectively “kettling” those in attendance and preventing further supporters from entering the area.
This was a planned coordination of excessive force on the part of the City of Toronto (CoT) and the TPS to demonstrate power and intimidate residents and supporters. The police used escalation tactics, threatened fines, arrests, and the removal of residents and supporters. Resources were at no shortage to the TPS as hundreds of mounted police, plain clothes officers, riot cops and corporate security were present to control the movement of 20-25 encampment residents.
Under the guise of “restoring” the park, the City of Toronto is faking concern for encampment residents by spreading misleading and unfounded anxiety such as “fire risks” and other threats to safety which could be mitigated by working with those living in encampments rather than by forceful evictions. The more likely motivation for displacing encampment residents who are seeking safe alternatives to the unsafe and overcrowded shelter system is to remove the visibility of poverty from increasingly gentrified neighbourhoods for the perceived comfort of those living in nearby luxury condo developments.
The show of force by the city in the effort to remove unhoused people from the only safe refuge they have found in the midst of a pandemic, as the housing crisis is not only unacceptable and callous but gravely contradicts public health standards. Displacing people while offering no true alternatives is cruel, traumatizing, and unnecessary. The tactics being used by the city and its police forces are not a solution to the issues that create these encampments and only serve to dehumanize residents and protestors alike. The city of Toronto must stop these violent and unwarranted evictions and focus on true solutions and alternatives in regards to safety and housing by working with the community rather than escalation of the ongoing war on the poor and unhoused. We applaud the resistance shown by the community, residents, and supporters, and condemn the predatory and discriminatory actions of TPS and CoT.
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)

Defund, Disarm the Police
Stop Greedy Landlords – put an end to evictions
Demand immediate increase in Rent Geared to Income Housing
Demand and Enforce “Use It or Lose It” policies and by-laws
Expropriate Land and Buildings left for-profit and speculation
Demand Safe Injection Spaces and Safe Drug Supply
Expand Drop-In and Health Services in Our Neighbourhoods.

Mass Delegation to End HSF Discrimination

City Hall | Bay and Queen | Wednesday, October  12 | 1 pm
Meet by giant Toronto sign in the square
Facebook | #HSFJustice, #FightToWin

The Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) is a crucial fund that poor people in the city rely upon to pay emergency costs to obtain or retain housing. The City’s HSF policies, however, systematically discriminate against disabled people and families with children by nullifying or greatly reducing their HSF entitlements.They do so by labeling money set aside for raising children and for necessary health-related benefits (such as the Special Diet or Guide Dog allowance) as “excess income.” The policy affects more than 30,000 social assistance recipients who apply to this fund each year.

Join the fight to end this discrimination on Wednesday, October 12 and be part of the mass delegation to Mayor John Tory & Councillor James Pasternak (head of the committee that oversees the HSF administration). Help us make it clear to the City that we will not allow them to run a policy that is discriminatory. Poor people’s lives are impacted by these policies and our lives are too important to be compromised by bureaucratic negligence, incompetence or an unwillingness to act.

On June 15 of this year, a mass OCAP delegation descended on City Hall to demand justice for Laura Bardeau, a disabled mother of two children who was being denied access to the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF). Struggling to survive on sub-poverty social assistance rates, Laura and her kids needed the money to purchase furniture they had lost to bed bugs. But instead of granting them the funds, the City refused to issue a single cent by claiming that Laura and her kids had income “in excess.”

Together, along with Laura and her kids, we fought back and won the Bardeaus’ the full amount they were entitled to. We also forced the City to release its HSF adjudication policies, which they had thus far kept under wraps. The policies confirmed that the City is systematically discriminating against disabled people and people with kids. We will be releasing a report exposing the City’s discrimination on our website tomorrow.

Together we won justice for Laura Bardeau, its now time to win it for all HSF applicants. Fight To Win!