Toronto: 400 PROTEST for homeless in march to Queen's Park FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Mon, 19 Apr 1999 15:58:35 -0700 (PDT)


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http://www.thestar.com:80/thestar/editorial/news/990418NEW06_CI-HOME18.html
FWD  Toronto Star - April 18, 1999

     400 NARCH TO QUEEN'S PARK FOR HOMELESS

     Out of the Cold volunteers challenge governments

     By Catherine Dunphy - Toronto Star Feature Writer

 It was the middle class who marched 400-strong on behalf of the city's
homeless from Nathan Phillips Square to Queen's Park yesterday morning.

 For some of them, it was the first time they'd ever publicly held up a
placard.

 ``I've never been to a march like this,'' said Lenore Strathy, leader of a
24-member delegation from Humbercrest United Church in the west end. ``It's
quite a move for us to come on a march and make up a sign.''

 Her sign said simply, ``A caring community has social housing.''

 Organized by Bloor St. United Church, the march was a chance for Out Of
The Cold volunteers at churches across the city to urge the governments to
help the homeless, now that the overnight programs have shut down for the
season.

 Although Strathy's church has been offering an Out Of The Cold lunch
program for only a few weeks, she said its members already realize they
must ``make some noise'' so the provincial government understands there's a
real middle-class momentum under way to get government help for the
homeless.

 ``The Out Of The Cold program is a 12-year-old Band-Aid that's pretty
dirty and not sticky anymore. Everyone in it is experiencing burnout,''
said Nora McCabe.

 She is with the Out Of The Cold program at the Queen St. mental health
facility.

 ``I'm a typical middle-class person who doesn't usually go on marches,''
said Peter Wyatt of Trinity-St. Paul's United Church. In fact, he voted for
Mike Harris and the Tories last election because he wanted action on the
deficit and debt, he said - but not at the expense of the homeless.

 ``To give us a tax cut in the face of all these problems is absurd,'' he
said. ``Give the savings to the homeless, not to us.''

 Neither Ontario Premier Mike Harris nor Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman took up
the offer to speak, but Councillor Jack Layton (Don River) told the crowd
at Nathan Phillips Square the new provincial landlord-tenant laws mean
5,000 people are being evicted in Toronto every month.

 ``In our city we are throwing people into the streets faster than people
like yourselves can bring them in,'' he said.

 At Queen's Park, Liberal housing critic Alvin Curling (Scarborough North)
said he is still awaiting action on Anne Golden's report on homelessness.

END FORWARD

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