[Fwd: Emergency Declaration: Ottawa-Carleton joins Toronto]

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Mon, 02 Nov 1998 21:27:45 -0500


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Emergency Declaration:  Ottawa-Carleton joins Toronto
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 15:28:45 +0000
From: "David Hulchanski, University of Toronto"
<david.hulchanski@utoronto.ca>
Reply-To: david.hulchanski@utoronto.ca
To: "Members, Toronto City Council"
<david.hulchanski@utoronto.ca>,"HOMELESSNESS -- Toronto Research Working
Group" <david.hulchanski@utoronto.ca>


------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
From:          "Munter, Alex" <MunterAl@rmoc.on.ca>

Subject:       Region of Ottawa-Carleton joins Toronto

Date:          Mon, 2 Nov 1998

For your information, Ottawa-Carleton's regional Community Services
Committee (which I chair) adopted the motion below last Thurs. Oct. 29.
It
will go to the full Regional Council for debate on Thurs. Nov. 12:

		WHEREAS Canada has signed the International Covenant of
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights guaranteeing everyone's right to
"an
adequate standard of living...including adequate food, clothing and
housing"; and

		WHEREAS the cancellation of new public housing programs and
the lack of space at crisis shelters due to their being filled to
over-capacity have added to the number of homeless people; and,

		WHEREAS homeless people have no decent standard of living;
and,

		WHEREAS the Provincial Task Force of Homelessness documents
the withdrawal of the federal and provincial governments from efforts to
improve the stock of affordable accommodation; and,

		WHEREAS an adequate supply of affordable housing is
essential to any long-term strategy dealing with homelessness and
appropriate shelter for all Canadians;

		BE IT RESOLVED that the Regional Municipality of
Ottawa-Carleton request that the federal government declare homelessness
to
be a National Disaster which requires immediate short and long-term
relief,
and that the federal, provincial and municipal governments cooperate to
develop and implement a National Homelessness Relief and Prevention
Strategy.

Regards,

Alex Munter
Regional Councillor

__________________________________________

Copy of press release on this issue:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCT. 29, 1998

Regional committee asks feds to declare homelessness a disaster

A committee of Regional Council has asked the federal government to
declare
homelessness a national disaster, at the request of local agencies
trying to
deal with the growing numbers of people living on the street in
Ottawa-Carleton.

 "This is a symbolic statement, but it says to the provincial and
federal
governments that municipalities alone can not resolve the growing
homelessness crisis," said Councillor Wendy Byrne, who proposed the
motion
to the Community Services Committee. Toronto city council passed a
similar
motion yesterday.

"Over the past four years, the region has in fact increased our response
to
homelessness," said Councillor Alex Munter, the committee's chair. "When
the
province eliminated funding for the day programs for the mentally ill
homeless, we replaced the lost funding. We helped finance a new women's
shelter and a new youth shelter, we increased the funding for the men's
shelters and we increased the funding for food programs. But these are
all
band-aids - the only solution to homelessness is an effective housing
program."

Committee members heard that the number of people living on the street
is
growing very quickly and the province's policies - like canceling
housing
programs and cutting social assistance - have lead to an increase in the
homeless population.

Shelters and emergency hostels are almost completely full. So far, in
1998,
for example, the women's hostel has been at 98% capacity, the shelter
for
persons with special needs (severe psychiatric, etc.) has also been
running
at 98% capacity, and the hostels for men are at 91%. Social workers are
worried about what will happen this winter when cold weather strikes.

Along with its report earlier this month, which called on municipalities
to
deal with homelessness, the province also allocated Ottawa-Carleton
$210,000. By comparison, the region of Peel - which is comprised of
Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon and has virtually no homeless
population
on its streets - was allocated a provincial grant of $270,000 to deal
with
homelessness issues.

"Today's motion is an attempt to catch the attention of senior
governments,
who are neglecting this issue," said Byrne. "We are willing to do our
part,
but we need their help and co-operation." The motion will be debated by
full
Regional Council Nov. 12.

- 30 -

Councillor Wendy Byrne			Councillor Alex Munter
560-1211 (w)				560-1207 (w) or 592-6993 (h)

================================