On March the 15th, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) officially released its report Out in the Cold on the state of the Toronto shelter system . The study’s findings are based on numerous interviews with service users and workers. It points out to a shelter system in crisis, plagued by constant overcrowding, harsh living conditions and a city government unwilling to take action.
CKUT reporter Chloe interviewed one of the writers of this report for a summary of the OCAP’s findings. Some of the statistics are hard to believe. For instance, 81% of the people surveyed stated that they had been denied a shelter bed because the shelters were full (see the chart above)! Equally shocking, in most shelters occupancy levels exceeded 90% every night. This is highly problematic given that overcrowded shelters lead to a high stress environment, a poor night’s rest and health issues. Luckily, OCAP volunteers and engaged citizens are taking action against this situation. Check out this video to get an idea of the scope of the protests happening in Toronto.
To get a sense of the state of the shelter system in Montreal, we also interviewed Francois Boissy who is the director of operations at La Maison du Pere, one of the largest homeless shelters in the city. He points out some of the differences between the way the cities of Toronto and Montreal deal with their homeless populations.
Aside from the administrative aspect of the shelter systems of Toronto and Montreal, an important question remains: “how does it feel, for people on the ground, to experience the shelter system in both cities?” Michel, an ex-homeless man that lived on the streets for two years from 2009-2011, explained to our reporter his personal experience with Montreal shelters. In this fascinating interview he talks about the reasons why he became an itinerant in the first place, the different shelters he slept in, food conditions and how shelter services helped him get out of the streets. We are truly grateful for his trust in sharing this story, the full interview is available for stream and download below.
With a little over one month to go before the Canadian federal elections, the major political parties are making big promises to their electorate.The RAPSIM (“Rapsim”),a homeless advocacy group in Montreal, has struggled with several years of cuts to their federal funding. On September 10th ,the RAPSIM, along with several other organizations who work with drug users and people who suffers from mental illness (La rue des femmes, Dopamine …) went on a bus tour in three major areas impacted by these issues in the city : Berri (at Emilie Gamelin’ Square), in Hochelaga and in Atwater, at Cabot Square. The aim of the tour was to meet 3 candidates in the upcoming election: Simon Marchand, the Bloc Quebecois’ candidate in Hochelaga; Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet, NPD’ candidate in Hochelaga and Marc Garneau, liberal’ candidate in VilleMarie. CKUT’s was on the tour, and brings us this report in French.
The RAPSIM had three claims on this Bus Tour :
The restoration of general and Community nature of the Homelessness Partnerships Strategy , a federal program providing assistance to thousands of people in Montreal and elsewhere in Quebec;
A recurring increase federal support roaming $ 50 million in Quebec, starting in the 2016-2017 budget
A federal reinvestment in social housing
All the candidates accepted these requests, and underlined the importance of this issue in the Federal Elections.
On the eve of July 1st, the Moving Day, CKUT Community News Collective got to renew a tradition of holding a Housing Panel on June 30th to inform our listeners about their housing rights as tenants and answer some of the pressing questions. Anouk Millet, Aaron Maiden and Sheila Ferrando along with Emma Noradounkian, who helped with topics research, sat down with Emilie Joly of FRAPRU, Alexandra Pierre of Project Genesis and Fred Burrill of POPIR to discuss the housing questions that are always asked, but the answers to which are hardly known by many.
Did you know about this right?
If it’s your move-in day and there are obvious problems with your apartment, you can “refuse to take a position at a dwelling”. Take pictures to prove it!
~ POPIR & Project Genesis
The panel consisted of roughly three categories such as basic rights, Régie du logement, rights in application and campaigns as well as activism. Kateryna Gordiychuk was live tweeting to get the word out for those who couldn’t listen, and to get radio-lovers and housing rights enthusiasts to participate.
Did you know about this right?
“Your lease renews automatically. Under no circumstances you have to leave your apartment. [… Moreover], the landlord is responsible for the temperature of your apartment”. Montreal’s winter doesn’t seem so scary now, huh?
The housing panel was not only an informative information session for everyone interested, but also a great way for CKUT News Collective to discover a potential for live-panels and in-call questions.
Did you know about this right?
“Rental contract is an agreement between a leaser and a leasee. I say, sign, and complain!”
Read our tweets posted during the live panel HERE. We thank everyone who made the panel possible and special thanks is to our knowledgable guests!
At the beginning of June the City of Montreal made public an emergency number that can be used by low-income families in need of home as the 1st of July Moving Day is approaching. Whereas some families do indeed qualify to be helped and given home, many households happen not to fall under the definition of a “family”, for example people living by themselves or temporarily homeless people. The program has been running for a few years having helped 26 families last year, and is expected to be even more successful in helping low-income families this summer.
Le mémo juridique «Le droit des municipalités à réglementer le parc de logements locatifs» ce document se base sur le Code Civil et explique les droits et les responsabilités des municipalités et des arrondissements en matière de protection d’hébergement. Suite au dévoilement du document, En Profondeur a reçu en studio Martin Blanchard du Comité logement de la Petite Patrie.
This week, social housing rights group FRAPRU is organizing a series of actions in the lead up to the May 16th demonstration in front of the Ministry of finance in Quebec City. Yesterday, FRAPRU and the Ciizens Action Commitee of Verdun organized a gathering to demand 1000 new housings in the area. Protesters marched from the De l’Eglise metro station to minister of Economy Jacques Daoust’s office. The government official that received the written requests of social housings rights groups FRAPRU, POPIR housing committe and CACV failed to answer any questions from the protesters. Off the Hour’s Amelie Phillipson was there and brings us this report.
At 2pm on Monday, May 12th, protesters gathered in front of the De l’Eglise metro station and marched to the office of Jacques Daoust, the minister of economy, innovations and exportations.
The intention of the action was to hand over to Jacques Daoust the protesters demands concerning social housing, however the SPVM was blocking the entrance.
Jacques Daoust wasn’t at his office at the time, but a representative came down to the street and briefly talked with Veronique de Broin from the Comite d’Actions des Citoyen de Verdun. He refused to answer any questions from the public.
A protester asked the minister’s representative: “when will you start taxing the banks?”. He refused to answer any questions.
This demonstration is a first in a series of actions organized by the social housing rights groups FRAPRU. The week of action will conclude on Friday, May 16th, at the occasion of a demonstration at the ministry of finance in Quebec City.
CKUT brings you an interview with Claire Abraham from Project Genesis. Claire speeks about another ignored issue in the provincial elections which is the waiting delays at the rental board. Fred Burrill, from the housing rights group POPIR comite logement said: „we have talked about our worries and demands with Luc Harvey, president of the rental board, but the only response we got is that the rental board is doing all they can to shorten the waitiung delays.“ Project Genesis and POPIR comite logement are requesting that all cases be heard within three months.
Social housing organizations in Montreal are accusing the rental board of forcing tenants to live in outrageous rental housing conditions: when a tenant has sanitary issues in their apartment, they have to wait an average of twenty months before his complaint gets heard. Housing rights groups have called on the liberal party of Canada to make commitments in the area of social housing, and finally, tenants shed light on the government’s spendings in defense compared to its spendings in social housing, CKUT’s Amelie Phillipson went to the demonstrations and filed this report.