Make homelessness & housing "election issues"? How?

Tom Boland (
Sat, 22 May 1999 22:44:25 -0700 (PDT)

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How can we go about making homelessness, housing, civil rights and social
justice "election issues"?

Compared with extraparlimentary organizing, are election campaigns the best
use of our time and resources?

Can candidates who represent poor and working people's interests actually
get nomonated and elected?

And if "our" candidates get elected, can we make sure they deliver on
campaign promises?  If so, how?

See related article below:
FWD  CBC News - May 17 1999


     Tenants may be missed

Despite efforts to make housing an issue this election - the issue is as
hard to find as a cheap apartment in Toronto.

Anne Golden headed up the City of Toronto's task force on homelessness.

"You know with close to 30,000 people experiencing homelessness, and with
tens of thousands at risk here in Toronto alone," says Golden. "We know its
not just a Toronto issue, we know its an Ontario wide issue, indeed a
national issue. I would hope that some focus would be placed on it."

Historically voters and low income people don't cast ballots and this could
be a major reason why politicians are ignoring housing. There is another
problem . The voter's list is well out of date, and no one will come around
to bang on doors this time out to enumerate. Instead, voters are encouraged
to call 1-888-ONT-VOTE to register themselves.

"This is not a voters list that is at all representative," says independent
candidate John Sewell. "Tenants are facing some real choices here and if
they are left of the list if they aren't being notified that they should be
voting, they might not vote and that's disenfranchising people who have a
stake in what the decision is."


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