Organize in your community for November 21st: national day of action!

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Dear fellow housing advocates across the country,

We have a housing and homelessness crisis in Canada.

November 21st: We will be heard.

HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT!
Speak up for an end to the housing crisis!
Speak out for an end to homelessness!

Groups in Quebec, Winnipeg and Toronto are mobilizing for a common day of action for National Housing Day on Friday, November 21st and are calling for groups across Canada to organize actions in their own communities!

Our demands:
1.    We need a national housing strategy now!
2.    Stop the cuts now! (cuts by the federal government to subsidies for social housing.. and cuts to housing & homelessness in general)

In Canada, we have 150,000 to 300,000 people who are visibly homeless, plus 450,000 to 900,000 people who are among the “hidden homeless.”

The homelessness crisis may soon get even worse.

In Canada, 365,000 low income households are at risk of losing their homes because the Federal government refuses to renew subsidies for social housing. Meanwhile, the waiting list for social housing continues to grow in all of our communities.

In 2009, Miloon Kothari, the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, called the housing and homelessness crisis in Canada a “national emergency.” Yet, Canada remains the only G8 nation in the world without a national housing strategy, and our government continues to cut funding to housing and homelessness programs.

Join us on November 21st as we raise our voices collectively to say enough is enough!
Stop the cuts!
We need a national housing strategy now!

Please contact righttohousingcoalition@gmail.com to join us in speaking out on November 21st and let us know what you are planning in your community!

For information on the Toronto action at Yonge-Dundas Square, please click here.

Toronto: RALLY for National Housing Day!

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We have a housing and homelessness crisis in Canada.

November 21st: We will be heard.

HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT!
Speak up for an end to the housing crisis!
Speak out for an end to homelessness!

The Toronto rally is part of National Housing Day actions taking place across Canada to send a message to the Federal government that we are calling for a national housing strategy and a stop to the cuts now!

For more information or to endorse the rally as a group or organization: righttohousingcoalition@gmail.com.
Don’t forget to join us at our Right to Housing Forum after the rally!
You can download (and print!) pdf version of flyer here:
poster (8.5″ x 11″)
half-sized flyers (change the settings to print 2 to a page before printing)

In Canada, we have 150,000 to 300,000 people who are visibly homeless, plus 450,000 to 900,000 people who are among the “hidden homeless.”

The homelessness crisis may soon get even worse.

In Canada, 365,000 low income households are at risk of losing their homes because the Federal government refuses to renew subsidies for social housing. Meanwhile, the waiting list for social housing continues to grow: there are over 165,000 households on the waiting list in Ontario alone.

In 2009, Miloon Kothari, the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, called the housing and homelessness crisis in Canada a “national emergency.” Yet, Canada remains the only G8 nation in the world without a national housing strategy, and our government continues to cut funding to housing and homelessness programs.

Join us on November 21st as we raise our voices collectively to say enough is enough!
Stop the cuts!
We need a national housing strategy now!

Toronto rally endorsed by:
Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario
Street Health
Federation of Metro Tenants Association
Toronto Drop-in Network
Houselink Community Homes
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario
Homelessness and Housing Umbrella Group
Oak Street Housing Co-operative Inc.
Regenesis
Young Parents No Fixed Address
Toronto ACORN
Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness

(This is a growing list! To endorse the rally as a group or organization: righttohousingcoalition@gmail.com)

For a list of sources for the figures mentioned, please visit this page.
Join us on Facebook here and help spread the word by inviting your FB friends!

Join us on November 21st for a National Housing Day Rally and Right to Housing Forum!

R2HForumPoster2014

Communities across Canada will be marking National Housing Day with events to promote and raise awareness on the right to housing. Join the Right to Housing Coalition and the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario on November 21, 2014 in Toronto for a National Housing Day Rally and Right to Housing Forum!

This event is FREE!
To register: https://acto-right2housing-forum2014.eventbrite.ca


Rally and Forum Schedule:

12:00pm-1:00pm:
National Housing Day Rally at Yonge-Dundas Square: Housing is a human right!
(See rally event page here)

2:00pm-5:00pm:
Right to Housing Forum at Church of the Holy Trinity, 10 Trinity Square behind the Eaton Centre (wheelchair accessible) – moderated by: Angela Robertson, Executive Director, Central Toronto Community Health Centres

Panel 1 (2:00-3:00): Is Housing First the solution to homelessness in Canada?

Some say yes. Some say maybe. And some say we must analyze Housing First through a gendered, racialized, rights based lens.
Professor Stephen Gaetz, York University/Canadian Homelessness Research Network, and Professor Janet Mosher, Osgoode Hall Law School, will discuss and debate the Housing First approach.

Panel 2 (3:15-5:00): The Right to Housing in Canada

There are many ways to build the right to housing in Canada. The panelists will discuss their advocacy work in the courts and in their communities.

• DJ Larkin, Pivot Legal Society (Vancouver), is counsel on a case concerning access to safe shelter as a basic human right.
• Phillip Dufresne, member of the Dream Team (Toronto), will discuss how they filed a human rights complaint against five municipalities in Ontario for their discriminatory by-laws… and won.
• Émilie Joly, Community Organizer at FRAPRU (Quebec-wide tenant organization), will talk about FRAPRU’s successes in organizing tenants and how to build this nationwide.
• Tracy Heffernan, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario and co-counsel on the Right to Housing Charter challenge will discuss next steps in the R2H litigation and campaign.

Join us on Facebook and help spread the word by inviting your FB friends:
https://www.facebook.com/events/340129336160461

Monday May 26 – Right to Housing Case goes to Ontario Court of Appeal

On May 26-28th, the Ontario Court of Appeal will hear arguments from lawyers representing 4 formely homeless or poorly housing Ontarians. Their case – the ‘Right to Housing Charter Challenge’ was dismissed by the Ontario Superior Court in September of 2013.

They will argue that the Superior Court was wrong to deny homeless people the right to present their case before the Court in a full hearing. Eight groups of intervenors will argue in favour of allowing the appeal and denying the motion to strike, including: LEAF, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, the Colour of Poverty, in addition to several legal clinics: ARCH Disability Law Centre, the Income Security Advocacy Centre, Neighbourhood Legal Services, and the HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario.

Stand in solidarity with the applicants and show your support for the right to housing:
You can attend the Appeal to show your support. It takes place in Courtroom 1 at the Court of Appeal for Ontario, 130 Queen St W, Toronto (northeast corner of University and Queen St.) The hearing begins at 10:30am each day and ends by 4:30pm. Wednesday may end by noon.

The ‘Right to Housing challenge’ argues that the governments of Canada and Ontario are in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international law for their failure to address, and their contribution to, the growing crisis of homelessness and inadequate housing. Almost 10,000 pages of expert witness evidence were submitted to support this case on National Housing Day in the fall of 2011.

October 23: International Strategies for Action – Right to Housing Forum

Come hear speakers from India, Scotland and the United States share success stories from the world-wide movement for the right to adequate housing!

International Strategies for the Right to Housing
Wednesday, October 23rd 7pm
SCC 115 – Oakham House
Ryerson University – 63 Gould Street
Toronto

Our speakers:

Fiona King is Senior Policy Officer at Shelter Scotland based in Edinburgh. Shelter Scotland helps over half a million people a year struggling with bad housing or homelessness and has been campaigning for housing rights for the past 40 years. In 2003, Scotland introduced legislation which will give people an enforceable legal right to housing.

Miloon Kothari is an outspoken critic of the countries and institutions that see the neo-liberal and military/security policies as a means to achieving democracy and human rights. Formerly UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on adequate housing (2000-2008), he is also the convener of the Habitat International Coalition’s Housing and Land Rights Network. Miloon lives in Delhi, India.

Rob Robinson is co-founder of the Take Back the Land National Movement and a member of the US Human Rights Network. He is a member of the Human Right to Housing program at the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (US). Rob spent two and a half years homeless in Miami and ten months in a New York City homeless shelter and has been in the housing movement in New York City since 2007.

This event is free. The venue is accessible. Transit tokens will be provided by FMTA – please email fmta@torontotenants.org or call 416-646-1772 to confirm your transit needs.

The event is organized by the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations and the Right to Housing Coalition Ontario.

This is event is part of the Right to Housing Symposium, which includes the conference “The Road Home: The Right to Housing in Canada and Around the World”. For information on the conference see: http://www.acto.ca/en/training.html

Share on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/673206979363995/

Court Shuts Down Charter Challenge – homeless Ontarians denied their day in court

From the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario

September 6, 2013

Homeless Canadians Denied Their Day in Court

Judge Accepts Government Motion to Quash Historic Case

 

(Toronto) Today, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that homeless and inadequately housed Ontarians should be denied a chance to have their landmark legal challenge heard.

“This case is about the fundamental principle of access to justice in our society,” said Tracy Heffernan, staff lawyer for the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, who represents the applicants. “By denying them the chance to present their evidence, the Court suggests that poor people cannot rely on Charter protection.”

Joined by housing advocates from the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA), the individuals filed the case in 2010, seeking a Court order requiring Federal and Provincial governments to implement a national housing strategy. They argued that Canada and Ontario have violated their rights under section 7 and section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by creating and maintaining conditions that lead to and sustain homelessness.

In May of this year, the governments of Canada and Ontario argued that the case should be struck down before any evidence was heard. Several interveners, including Amnesty International, underscored the importance of allowing the challenge to move forward. Today’s decision accepted government arguments that “it is plain and obvious that the Application cannot succeed” and dismissed the case.

“The decision reflects a narrow view of the Charter that seems to be applied when the poor seek judicial relief,” said Peter Rosenthal, lawyer for the applicants.

In his decision, Justice Lederer said that courts in Canada have no role in reviewing critical human rights issues such as “the basis on which people may be evicted from where they live and the treatment of those with psycho-social and intellectual disabilities”.

“This will come as a shock to those in Canada and the international community who have been assured that Canada recognizes access to adequate housing as a fundamental human right and that the most marginalized are protected under the Charter,” said Leilani Farha of CERA. “This decision, if allowed to stand, denies any protection under the Charter to the most vulnerable groups in Canada – those devastated by homelessness and inadequate housing. We welcome the opportunity to have these critical issues considered on appeal.”

To schedule interviews with spokespeople contact: Yutaka Dirks 416-597-5855 x.5243 or 1-866-245-4182 x.5243 email: dirksy[at]lao.on.ca http://www.acto.ca/en/cases/right-to-housing.html

Right to Housing hearing over – Court will decide by autumn if the case moves ahead

Thank you to all of you who came for a few hours or a few days to watch the housing & homelessness human rights case unfold. We really appreciated your being there and it was good for the judge to see that people are interested and concerned about the outcome.

Fay Faraday and Peter Rosenthal did a brilliant job on behalf of the applicants and Molly Reynolds, Jackie Esmonde/Martha Jackman and Kent Roach/Cheryl Milne were all outstanding on behalf of the interveners. We just finished the 3 days of argument and it’s not clear which way the decision will go. Justice Lederer does not expect to have a decision until next fall.

There was a good article in the Toronto Star about the motion:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/05/26/landmark_homeless_charter_challenge_may_never_be_heard_if_government_wins_bid_to_quash_case.html