[Hpn] Pope Squat: Lobby Day and Rally at City Council Meeting

wtinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Mon, 9 Sep 2002 13:49:43 -0400


From: "Ontario Coalition Against Poverty" ocap@tao.ca



 TWO IMPORTANT ACTIONS TO PUT THE POPE SQUAT AT THE TOP OF COUNCIL'S AGENDA

     With astounding success, the OCAP Pope Squat is now well into its
 second month.  Homeless people and their allies have established a
 community and taken forward the whole fight against homelessness and
 underhousing in Toronto.  Our goal, however, is not just to win the right
 to squat the property but to compel the levels of government to set a
 vital precedent by accepting a self managed social housing project at 1510
 King Street West.

     We are doing all we can to take this forward on our own while we
 pressure City Hall to act.  Renovations are underway, a model suite is
 being prepared at the site and, with community partners, we are creating
 the legal entity at the site that could assume control of a housing
 project.  The City, however, has not yet faced up to its responsibilities.
 The motion passed by Council calls on the Province to hand over the
 property and the Province will be very unlikely to admit to ownership.
 What we do know, though, is that the City sent all with a stake in the
 property a communication in December of 2000 warning that the building
 would be seized if back taxes weren't paid.  If they had that power then,
 they have it now and we demand that the City take over the property,
 provide housing during the renovation period to those presently there and
 open negotiations around the creation of self managed housing.

     We have prepared (and include with this notice) a model resolution
 that outlines our position and we have two upcoming actions to press for
 City Council to adopt it.  Below are the details of these.

 * * * * * * *
 LOBBY DAY AT CITY HALL.  FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13.  MEET AT 11.00 AM IN FRONT
OF BUILDING.

   We are preparing a mass lobby of Council members.  If you would like to
 be part of one of the delegations that will meet with the politicians or
 their representatives, here's how things will work.

 * Find out who you elected member of Council is.

 * Call the OCAP office and offer your help.  We will assign you to a team
 of people meeting with a Council member.

 * If you are the first person calling in from your particular ward, we
 will ask you to phone and make an appointment.

 * On the day, we will proceed together to the lobby area of the
 Councillors' offices, go to our meetings and press the demands contained
 in the model resolution.  We will call on them to put this on the floor of
 the next Council meeting and to adopt it at that session.

 * * * * * *
TAKING THE POPE SQUAT TO THE NEXT MEETING OF COUNCIL.  MEET IN FRONT OF CITY
HALL ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, AT 2.00 PM

     We shall rally in front of the building to show some of the community
 support that exists and then go to the Council Chambers to eliminate any
 lingering doubt on the matter.  We hope and expect, that they will be
 ready to discuss this vital issue.  (Did not this same Council declare
 homelessness a national disaster?)  We will be ready to go into the
 chambers to witness politicians who do the right thing and provide a small
 but important beginning in the work of dealing with the housing crisis.
 We are also prepared, however, for our visit to the gathering to be a
 restrained yet unmistakable reminder that the community will no longer
 accept talk as a substitute for action and that the Pope Squat is
 something they just can't hide from.  We need every single person
 available to come out and show their support on the 17th!

     For more information call OCAP at (416) 925-6939 or e mail us at
 ocap@tao.ca

 * * * * * *
 MODEL RESOLUTION FOR CITY COUNCIL ON POPE SQUAT

     "Given that a housing crisis exists in this City, with vast waiting
 lists for social housing, rampant evictions and a level of homelessness
 that the City Council has declared a disaster."

     "Given that an attempt is underway to turn the building at 1510 King
 Street West into social housing."

     "Given that this initiative is widely supported in Parkdale and by
 many labour, faith and community based organizations."

     "And, given that the City of Toronto felt able to seize the property
 as long ago as December of 2000 and communicated this to all those with a
 financial interest in it."

     "Toronto City Council will take over the property in question without
 delay and begin its transformation into social housing."

     "Council will also ensure that those homeless people who are presently
 living at the site be housed during the renovation period."

     "As the City moves forward with developing the site, it will enter
 into good faith negotiations with those presently living there and their
 community partners who have allocated or pledged resources to this
 initiative around the creation of a self managed project at 1510 King
 Street West."

        **
NEW ADDRESS!
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
517 College Street, Suite 234  Toronto, Ontario  M5G 4A2
416-925-6939   ocap@tao.ca   www.ocap.ca
       **