[Hpn] City Hall could be 'war zone' in spring

Graeme Bacque gbacque@colosseum.com
Sat, 15 Jan 2005 07:56:39 -0500


Sat, January 15, 2005

City Hall could be 'war zone' in spring


A PLAN to remove the homeless from Nathan Phillips Square could lead to 
a war zone at City Hall this spring, advocates said yesterday. Toronto 
street nurse Cathy Crowe, a member of the Toronto Disaster Relief 
Committee, said the plan, outlined in Mayor David Miller's report, is 
downright scary.

"I was really sad when I read it," she said. "When the spring comes and 
many of the out-of-the cold programs stop there will be a lot of people 
who will have nowhere to go. If they try to force people off of City 
Hall it could turn Nathan Phillips Square into a war zone."

Anti-poverty activist Michael Shapcott called the plan cruel and said he 
will demand that it be dropped from the report.


"The idea has not worked in other municipalities, so why would we bring 
that here?" he said.

Crowe said the report focuses on outreach programs instead of finding 
places for people to go, she said.

"The city is telling the homeless they have a right to housing and then 
they're saying, 'We're going to help you but we have nowhere to put 
you,'" Crowe said.

Shapcott said the report provides no new money and he even wonders if 
the city can properly manage the $11 million it already has, which the 
report says will build 1,000 new affordable-housing units.

The city has built only 400 units since 1998 and there is no reason to 
think they will start delivering now, he said.

"The $11 million has been around for years. They haven't come up with 
any new money."

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