[Hpn] [hic_mail] Housing Again Bulletin No 60

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  HOUSING AGAIN ­ Bulletin Number 60
  April 1, 2003
  A monthly electronic bulletin published on what people are doing to put
housing back on the public agenda in Ontario, across Canada and around the
world. Our web site is http://www.housingagain.web.net.
  If you have any tips for the Bulletin please e-mail: gallop@interlog.com.

  *********

  1. Community Spotlight: Tent City turned Social Agency in London Ontario
  2. Next Housing Ministers Meeting Set for mid-April
  3. Ontario Budget Leaves Housing Activists Cold
  4. Scotland passes an act to end homelessness
  5. Housing Not War: Housing Activists Join the Peace Movement
  6. Clarification

  *********
  In Community Spotlight, the Bulletin takes a regular look at how different
communities are creating affordable housing and dealing with homelessness.
If you think your community would make a great story please e-mail
gallop@interlog.com with the details.

  1. Community Spotlight: Tent City turned Social Agency in London Ontario

  When London Ontario’s Unity Project moves into its own building this
spring it will mark the culmination of almost two years of hard work amid
uncertainty for a group that started as a Tent City protest and has turned
into a viable social agency.

  Unity Project got its start in the city’s Campbell Park during the 2001
Canada Summer Games. Homeless people and anti-poverty activists, the
majority of them young people, formed the Tent City to protest the money
being spent by the city to host the games at a time when people were
sleeping in the streets. The members wanted to create a space ‘to crash’ for
people who didn’t fit into the traditional shelter system with its strict
rules and curfews. For example, the project is also the only shelter in
London where homeless couples can stay together. Residents can live at the
project for up to two years while they work on the problems that have kept
them socially marginalized.

  "There has been an extraordinary amount of community support from all
areas," says Chuck Lisanby, 23, a project co-ordinator and former board
member who was one of the original squatters.

  Lisanby says the squatters ­ many were youth in school, and not making
money - worked 24 hours a day to get the project going. She was a student at
the time, and putting in 60-hour weeks with the Unity Project while going to
school for 20 hours each week. "We went through crisis after crisis ­ no
money, no building ­ there wasn’t a certain future up until a
month-and-a-half ago."

  John O’Handley, president of CAW Local 1520 and chair of the Unity Project
board, remembers the day when squatters were given 48 hours to leave the
park and police were getting ready to evict them. Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco
asked him if he could assist in finding an alternate location and influence
the Tent City occupants to move peacefully.

  The Salvation Army stepped forward with a warehouse-type temporary
building for the approximately 30 squatters. But as the Toronto Star
reported, the warehouse became a magnet for London’s street people and some
nights, 200 people crowded through the door. After five months, the
Salvation Army wanted the Unity Project to leave. In late September 2002 it
issued an eviction notice.

  "When things looked bad, there was always someone who came on board with
the expertise we needed," says O’Handley in explaining how the project
survived its series of crises.

  This time it was a local realtor, who offered the use of an abandoned
farmhouse on Fanshawe Park Rd., the edge of town. Between 12 and 14
residents have been living in the house on a steady basis since then.
Decisions are made by consensus at weekly meetings. The rules are basic: no
drinking, no drugs, no violence and no stealing.

  Although many residents have liked the farmhouse, it is far away from the
downtown where many services, such as addiction treatment and job
counseling, are located. Last month London City Council unanimously approved
a $200,000 grant to the Unity Project to buy a new building, using funds
transferred to the municipality from the province. For their part, Unity
Project members had to come up with a business plan and donations. Community
members and the London District Labour Council stepped forward with
sufficient money.

  Organizers have now secured a building downtown, on Dundas St., that will
have 30 beds. Half will be available for anybody who needs a bed to crash
and will be paid for by the city on a per diem basis. The other half will be
available at rents affordable to welfare recipients.  Although the building
represents greater stability, project members are not fooling themselves
that the hard work will continue. There are plans in the works to apply for
charitable status and they are always on the lookout for funding.

  Tyler Stranger, a resident for seven months, says the Unity Project has
exposed a little more light in the sky for him. The 33-year-old dad, who
struggles with addiction, came to the project after he lost his one-bedroom
apartment. Workers at the Salvation Army suggested he join the Unity Project
with the hope that he’d relate better socially to the youth-driven project.
Stranger says at first he perceived the Unity Project as a bit ‘flakey’
because of its fewer rules and emphasis on resident control. He says his
first judgment was wrong. Although he does think project co-ordinators could
be stricter with those who use the place as a ‘pit stop,’ he says the
experience has been ‘fantastic’ for him.

  "I went with it and I’m glad I did. They are very good people and I love
them dearly."

  2. Next Housing Ministers Meeting Set for mid-April

  The next federal, provincial and territorial housing ministers’ meeting
will take place in Winnipeg, Manitoba from April 14-16. The time period
between the announcement and the actual meeting date has been quick, making
it difficult for activists to mobilize. The National Housing and
Homelessness network wrote the Manitoba minister demanding an invitation but
other than that, there has been much less activity surrounding the meeting
this year than last. Check the Alerts this month for developments as they
arise at: http://action.web.ca/home/housing/alerts.shtml

  3. Ontario Budget Leaves Housing Activists Cold

  Ontario has once again dropped the ball with regard to new money for
housing in the province. Despite a province-wide shortage of affordable
housing, the Ontario government is not contributing any new money for
affordable housing in its 2003 budget released March 27th. This is a
disappointment to housing advocates after the federal government announced
new housing money in its budget last month.

  The only good news in the Ontario budget was a re-announcement. "The
Ontario government has set what may be a new record with this budget when it
made the sixth re-announcement of a tiny rent supplement program that is
funded with surplus federal housing dollars," said Michael Shapcott, on
behalf of the Housing and Homelessness Network in Ontario. Shapcott is
referring to rent subsidies for 10,000 low income households that were first
announced in 1999, re-announced in January 2000, in November 2000, then
again in May 2002 and again in August 2002. For this budget the program has
been re-named the New Tomorrow Rent Supplement program.

  Shapcott reports the overall number of households that will benefit has
shrunk to 8,000. He says the one positive development is that the
supplements will now be funded through 2023 instead of the previous plan to
limit them to five years. Shapcott’s other observations about the budget
include:

  * Despite the fact that the province is requiring municipalities to pay
most of the cost of the National Affordable Housing program, it has been
talking to the municipalities about fast-tracking a handful of proposed
housing projects that are using the national framework money through a
‘quick start’ program ­ perhaps in time to have some announcements handy for
the provincial election, expected soon.

  * Finance Minister Janice Ecker announced $250 million for mental health
reform, but not one penny has been allocated for new supportive housing.

  * The province has cut so much from its housing spending ($879.1 million
from 1995 to 2002) that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing could
soon be a revenue-generator. In 2003/04, the ministry will receive $643
million from the federal government in social housing transfers, yet the
entire budget for the ministry (both municipal affairs and housing) is set
at $688 million. Clearly, says Shapcott, the province is guilty of taking
federal housing money and using it to replace provincial cuts.

  To see the budget speech and related documents, visit
http://www.gov.on.ca/FIN/english/budeng.htm.

  4. Scotland passes an act to end homelessness

  By 2012, everyone who is unintentionally homeless in Scotland will be
entitled to permanent accommodation - at least according to legislation
recently passed by the new Scottish parliament. The Homelessness Act
received cross-party support and not only guarantees homes but offers
greater legal protection to people who are homeless or who are in danger of
being homeless. For More information, visit HousingAgain Alerts at:
http://action.web.ca/home/housing/alerts.shtml and click on the article
posted March 18th.

  5. Housing Not War: Housing Activists Join the Peace Movement

  Housing activists have joined the widespread peace movement to tell the
federal government that Canadians want housing, not war.
  In Toronto, a group called Homes not Bombs has sprung up and is holding
vigils every Tuesday at Queen and Jarvis Sts to turn the city’s Moss Park
Armoury into housing for people who are homeless. The Toronto Disaster
Relief Committee (TDRC) and the Coalition to Stop the War joined forces with
Homes not Bombs March 15 to organize a large peace march to the armoury and
demand it be turned over immediately for shelter. TDRC has been campaigning
throughout the harsh winter and into the spring for the federal government
to turn over at least one of its Toronto armouries for a homeless shelter.
Most recently, it held hearings with homeless people reporting on conditions
in the city’s overcrowded shelters for a report that will be given to the
city council and the federal government. Homes Not Bombs, the TDRC and the
peace coalition are currently working on plans for another big demonstration
May 30th.

  In other parts of the country the ties between the two movements don’t
seem to be as overt, though housing activists are definitely taking to the
streets for peace.

  Many of the Vancouver squatters, who recently won their fight to have the
downtown Woodward’s building turned into affordable housing, have joined a
squat outside of the U.S. consulate to demand an end to the war.

  In Montreal, which has seen Canada’s biggest anti-war protests, the Front
d’Action Populaire en Réaménagement Urbain (FRAPRU) is a member of the city’
s coalition against the war, but does not have as overt a partnership as in
Toronto.

  Internationally, the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions is putting out
a call to attention about the housing rights violations that happen during
war. In the latest COHRE newsletter, editor Scott Leckie says the 1991 Gulf
War destroyed over 9,000 civilian homes. He calls on human rights activists
to demand the United States compensate the thousands of families whose homes
it has destroyed not only in Iraq, but in Serbia, Kosovo, Afghanistan,
Vietnam and Panama.

  "Over the years I have visited many once-vibrant neighbourhoods that were
hit by U.S. bombs, particularly in the Balkans, and I’ve spoken with many of
those who lost their homes," he writes. "I have yet to meet anyone who
received a formal apology, let alone financial compensation, from those who
did the damage."

  6. Clarification

  Last month’s story on Saskatchewan’s Affordable Solar Housing Project
failed to mention some key partners involved in the project. The Canada
Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been a partner for nearly two
years and is providing funding and expertise, in partnership with the City
of Regina and Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, to produce the book and
CD-ROM that will have actual house plans for builders, developers and people
who want to build their own homes. The Saskatchewan Research Council is
involved as a technical reviewer, but not a funding partner.
  *
  SUBSCRIBE/UNSUBSCRIBE: The Housing Again e-bulletin is distributed by
e-mail free of charge every month. To subscribe or unsubscribe, log onto the
main page at http://www.housinagain.web.net. You’ll see the Bulletin’s
subscribe/unsubscribe box at the bottom right hand of the page. Please
circulate this e-bulletin to your friends and colleagues.
  - end -





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<BLOCKQUOTE style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><B>HOUSING AGAIN &shy; Bulletin Num=
ber=20
  60</B> <BR><B>April 1, 2003</B>=20
  <P>A monthly electronic bulletin published on what people are doing to pu=
t=20
  housing back on the public agenda in Ontario, across Canada and around th=
e=20
  world. Our web site is <A=20
  href=3D"http://www.housingagain.web.net">http://www.housingagain.web.net<=
/A>.=20
  <BR>If you have any tips for the Bulletin please e-mail: gallop@interlog.=
com.=20
  <P>*********=20
  <P>1. Community Spotlight: Tent City turned Social Agency in London Ontar=
io=20
  <BR>2. Next Housing Ministers Meeting Set for mid-April <BR>3. Ontario Bu=
dget=20
  Leaves Housing Activists Cold <BR>4. Scotland passes an act to end=20
  homelessness <BR>5. Housing Not War: Housing Activists Join the Peace Mov=
ement=20
  <BR>6. Clarification=20
  <P>********* <BR>In Community Spotlight, the Bulletin takes a regular loo=
k at=20
  how different communities are creating affordable housing and dealing wit=
h=20
  homelessness. If you think your community would make a great story please=
=20
  e-mail gallop@interlog.com with the details.=20
  <P><B>1. Community Spotlight: Tent City turned Social Agency in London=20
  Ontario</B>=20
  <P>When London Ontario&#8217;s Unity Project moves into its own building =
this spring=20
  it will mark the culmination of almost two years of hard work amid uncert=
ainty=20
  for a group that started as a Tent City protest and has turned into a via=
ble=20
  social agency. <BR>&nbsp; <BR>Unity Project got its start in the city&#82=
17;s=20
  Campbell Park during the 2001 Canada Summer Games. Homeless people and=20
  anti-poverty activists, the majority of them young people, formed the Ten=
t=20
  City to protest the money being spent by the city to host the games at a =
time=20
  when people were sleeping in the streets. The members wanted to create a =
space=20
  &#8216;to crash&#8217; for people who didn&#8217;t fit into the tradition=
al shelter system with=20
  its strict rules and curfews. For example, the project is also the only=20
  shelter in London where homeless couples can stay together. Residents can=
 live=20
  at the project for up to two years while they work on the problems that h=
ave=20
  kept them socially marginalized. <BR>&nbsp; <BR>"There has been an=20
  extraordinary amount of community support from all areas," says Chuck Lis=
anby,=20
  23, a project co-ordinator and former board member who was one of the ori=
ginal=20
  squatters.=20
  <P>Lisanby says the squatters &shy; many were youth in school, and not ma=
king=20
  money - worked 24 hours a day to get the project going. She was a student=
 at=20
  the time, and putting in 60-hour weeks with the Unity Project while going=
 to=20
  school for 20 hours each week. "We went through crisis after crisis &shy;=
 no=20
  money, no building &shy; there wasn&#8217;t a certain future up until a=20
  month-and-a-half ago."=20
  <P>John O&#8217;Handley, president of CAW Local 1520 and chair of the Uni=
ty Project=20
  board, remembers the day when squatters were given 48 hours to leave the =
park=20
  and police were getting ready to evict them. Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco ask=
ed=20
  him if he could assist in finding an alternate location and influence the=
 Tent=20
  City occupants to move peacefully. <BR>&nbsp; <BR>The Salvation Army step=
ped=20
  forward with a warehouse-type temporary building for the approximately 30=
=20
  squatters. But as the Toronto Star reported, the warehouse became a magne=
t for=20
  London&#8217;s street people and some nights, 200 people crowded through =
the door.=20
  After five months, the Salvation Army wanted the Unity Project to leave. =
In=20
  late September 2002 it issued an eviction notice. <BR>&nbsp; <BR>"When th=
ings=20
  looked bad, there was always someone who came on board with the expertise=
 we=20
  needed," says O&#8217;Handley in explaining how the project survived its =
series of=20
  crises.=20
  <P>This time it was a local realtor, who offered the use of an abandoned=
=20
  farmhouse on Fanshawe Park Rd., the edge of town. Between 12 and 14 resid=
ents=20
  have been living in the house on a steady basis since then. Decisions are=
 made=20
  by consensus at weekly meetings. The rules are basic: no drinking, no dru=
gs,=20
  no violence and no stealing.=20
  <P>Although many residents have liked the farmhouse, it is far away from =
the=20
  downtown where many services, such as addiction treatment and job counsel=
ing,=20
  are located. Last month London City Council unanimously approved a $200,0=
00=20
  grant to the Unity Project to buy a new building, using funds transferred=
 to=20
  the municipality from the province. For their part, Unity Project members=
 had=20
  to come up with a business plan and donations. Community members and the=
=20
  London District Labour Council stepped forward with sufficient money.=20
  <P>Organizers have now secured a building downtown, on Dundas St., that w=
ill=20
  have 30 beds. Half will be available for anybody who needs a bed to crash=
 and=20
  will be paid for by the city on a per diem basis. The other half will be=
=20
  available at rents affordable to welfare recipients.&nbsp; Although the=20
  building represents greater stability, project members are not fooling=20
  themselves that the hard work will continue. There are plans in the works=
 to=20
  apply for charitable status and they are always on the lookout for fundin=
g.=20
  <BR>&nbsp; <BR>Tyler Stranger, a resident for seven months, says the Unit=
y=20
  Project has exposed a little more light in the sky for him. The 33-year-o=
ld=20
  dad, who struggles with addiction, came to the project after he lost his=
=20
  one-bedroom apartment. Workers at the Salvation Army suggested he join th=
e=20
  Unity Project with the hope that he&#8217;d relate better socially to the=
=20
  youth-driven project.&nbsp; Stranger says at first he perceived the Unity=
=20
  Project as a bit &#8216;flakey&#8217; because of its fewer rules and emph=
asis on resident=20
  control. He says his first judgment was wrong. Although he does think pro=
ject=20
  co-ordinators could be stricter with those who use the place as a &#8216;=
pit stop,&#8217;=20
  he says the experience has been &#8216;fantastic&#8217; for him. <BR>&nbs=
p; <BR>"I went=20
  with it and I&#8217;m glad I did. They are very good people and I love th=
em dearly."=20

  <P><B>2. Next Housing Ministers Meeting Set for mid-April</B>=20
  <P>The next federal, provincial and territorial housing ministers&#8217; =
meeting=20
  will take place in Winnipeg, Manitoba from April 14-16. The time period=20
  between the announcement and the actual meeting date has been quick, maki=
ng it=20
  difficult for activists to mobilize. The National Housing and Homelessnes=
s=20
  network wrote the Manitoba minister demanding an invitation but other tha=
n=20
  that, there has been much less activity surrounding the meeting this year=
 than=20
  last. Check the Alerts this month for developments as they arise at: <A=20
  href=3D"http://action.web.ca/home/housing/alerts.shtml">http://action.web=
.ca/home/housing/alerts.shtml</A>=20

  <P><B>3. Ontario Budget Leaves Housing Activists Cold</B>=20
  <P>Ontario has once again dropped the ball with regard to new money for=20
  housing in the province. Despite a province-wide shortage of affordable=20
  housing, the Ontario government is not contributing any new money for=20
  affordable housing in its 2003 budget released March 27th. This is a=20
  disappointment to housing advocates after the federal government announce=
d new=20
  housing money in its budget last month. <BR>&nbsp; <BR>The only good news=
 in=20
  the Ontario budget was a re-announcement. "The Ontario government has set=
 what=20
  may be a new record with this budget when it made the sixth re-announceme=
nt of=20
  a tiny rent supplement program that is funded with surplus federal housin=
g=20
  dollars," said Michael Shapcott, on behalf of the Housing and Homelessnes=
s=20
  Network in Ontario. Shapcott is referring to rent subsidies for 10,000 lo=
w=20
  income households that were first announced in 1999, re-announced in Janu=
ary=20
  2000, in November 2000, then again in May 2002 and again in August 2002. =
For=20
  this budget the program has been re-named the New Tomorrow Rent Supplemen=
t=20
  program.=20
  <P>Shapcott reports the overall number of households that will benefit ha=
s=20
  shrunk to 8,000. He says the one positive development is that the supplem=
ents=20
  will now be funded through 2023 instead of the previous plan to limit the=
m to=20
  five years. Shapcott&#8217;s other observations about the budget include:=
=20
  <P>* Despite the fact that the province is requiring municipalities to pa=
y=20
  most of the cost of the National Affordable Housing program, it has been=
=20
  talking to the municipalities about fast-tracking a handful of proposed=20
  housing projects that are using the national framework money through a &#=
8216;quick=20
  start&#8217; program &shy; perhaps in time to have some announcements han=
dy for the=20
  provincial election, expected soon.=20
  <P>* Finance Minister Janice Ecker announced $250 million for mental heal=
th=20
  reform, but not one penny has been allocated for new supportive housing.=
=20
  <P>* The province has cut so much from its housing spending ($879.1 milli=
on=20
  from 1995 to 2002) that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing cou=
ld=20
  soon be a revenue-generator. In 2003/04, the ministry will receive $643=20
  million from the federal government in social housing transfers, yet the=
=20
  entire budget for the ministry (both municipal affairs and housing) is se=
t at=20
  $688 million. Clearly, says Shapcott, the province is guilty of taking fe=
deral=20
  housing money and using it to replace provincial cuts.=20
  <P>To see the budget speech and related documents, visit <A=20
  href=3D"http://www.gov.on.ca/FIN/english/budeng.htm">http://www.gov.on.ca=
/FIN/english/budeng.htm</A>.=20

  <P><B>4. Scotland passes an act to end homelessness</B>=20
  <P>By 2012, everyone who is unintentionally homeless in Scotland will be=
=20
  entitled to permanent accommodation - at least according to legislation=20
  recently passed by the new Scottish parliament. The Homelessness Act rece=
ived=20
  cross-party support and not only guarantees homes but offers greater lega=
l=20
  protection to people who are homeless or who are in danger of being homel=
ess.=20
  For More information, visit HousingAgain Alerts at: <A=20
  href=3D"http://action.web.ca/home/housing/alerts.shtml">http://action.web=
.ca/home/housing/alerts.shtml</A>=20
  and click on the article posted March 18th.=20
  <P><B>5. Housing Not War: Housing Activists Join the Peace Movement</B>=20
  <P>Housing activists have joined the widespread peace movement to tell th=
e=20
  federal government that Canadians want housing, not war. <BR>In Toronto, =
a=20
  group called Homes not Bombs has sprung up and is holding vigils every Tu=
esday=20
  at Queen and Jarvis Sts to turn the city&#8217;s Moss Park Armoury into h=
ousing for=20
  people who are homeless. The Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (TDRC) and=
 the=20
  Coalition to Stop the War joined forces with Homes not Bombs March 15 to=
=20
  organize a large peace march to the armoury and demand it be turned over=
=20
  immediately for shelter. TDRC has been campaigning throughout the harsh w=
inter=20
  and into the spring for the federal government to turn over at least one =
of=20
  its Toronto armouries for a homeless shelter. Most recently, it held hear=
ings=20
  with homeless people reporting on conditions in the city&#8217;s overcrow=
ded=20
  shelters for a report that will be given to the city council and the fede=
ral=20
  government. Homes Not Bombs, the TDRC and the peace coalition are current=
ly=20
  working on plans for another big demonstration May 30th.=20
  <P>In other parts of the country the ties between the two movements don&#=
8217;t seem=20
  to be as overt, though housing activists are definitely taking to the str=
eets=20
  for peace.=20
  <P>Many of the Vancouver squatters, who recently won their fight to have =
the=20
  downtown Woodward&#8217;s building turned into affordable housing, have j=
oined a=20
  squat outside of the U.S. consulate to demand an end to the war.=20
  <P>In Montreal, which has seen Canada&#8217;s biggest anti-war protests, =
the Front=20
  d&#8217;Action Populaire en R=E9am=E9nagement Urbain (FRAPRU) is a member=
 of the city&#8217;s=20
  coalition against the war, but does not have as overt a partnership as in=
=20
  Toronto.=20
  <P>Internationally, the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions is putting=
 out=20
  a call to attention about the housing rights violations that happen durin=
g=20
  war. In the latest COHRE newsletter, editor Scott Leckie says the 1991 Gu=
lf=20
  War destroyed over 9,000 civilian homes. He calls on human rights activis=
ts to=20
  demand the United States compensate the thousands of families whose homes=
 it=20
  has destroyed not only in Iraq, but in Serbia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Vietn=
am=20
  and Panama. <BR>&nbsp; <BR>"Over the years I have visited many once-vibra=
nt=20
  neighbourhoods that were hit by U.S. bombs, particularly in the Balkans, =
and=20
  I&#8217;ve spoken with many of those who lost their homes," he writes. "I=
 have yet=20
  to meet anyone who received a formal apology, let alone financial=20
  compensation, from those who did the damage."=20
  <P><B>6. Clarification</B>=20
  <P>Last month&#8217;s story on Saskatchewan&#8217;s Affordable Solar Hous=
ing Project=20
  failed to mention some key partners involved in the project. The Canada=20
  Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been a partner for nearly two=
=20
  years and is providing funding and expertise, in partnership with the Cit=
y of=20
  Regina and Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, to produce the book and CD-R=
OM=20
  that will have actual house plans for builders, developers and people who=
 want=20
  to build their own homes. The Saskatchewan Research Council is involved a=
s a=20
  technical reviewer, but not a funding partner. <BR>*=20
  <BR>SUBSCRIBE/UNSUBSCRIBE: The Housing Again e-bulletin is distributed by=
=20
  e-mail free of charge every month. To subscribe or unsubscribe, log onto =
the=20
  main page at <A=20
  href=3D"http://www.housinagain.web.net">http://www.housinagain.web.net</A=
>.=20
  You&#8217;ll see the Bulletin&#8217;s subscribe/unsubscribe box at the bo=
ttom right hand=20
  of the page. Please circulate this e-bulletin to your friends and colleag=
ues.=20
  <BR>- end - <BR>&nbsp; <BR>&nbsp; <BR>&nbsp; </P></BLOCKQUOTE>
<br>

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