Thursday, May 31, 2007

Women's Housing Takeover- June 3rd

Women’s Housing Takeover Action!

Support this exciting work by women and trans people in Toronto to set up housing for those of us experiencing violence and our children.

Sunday, June 3rd, Noon

Rally: 12 noon at Cawthra Square, Toronto (North of 519 Church Street Community Centre)

March: 1:00 pm- Led by women, trans people and our kids



What is the Women’s Poverty Collective Women’s Housing Takeover?

The Women Against Poverty Collective (WAPC) is a group of women and trans people who have been meeting regularly since March 2006. We are working together to advocate for safe, affordable, and accessible housing for women experiencing violence. Poverty is one of the biggest concerns identified by women living with violence, and coupled with a lack of access to housing, it keeps women stuck in abusive situations.

Women living in poverty have repeatedly identified the important, but often unrecognized, links between poverty and women’s experiences of violence, asking for policy changes such as those that are being advocated for by the current Raise the Rates and the Ontario Needs a Raise Campaigns. The Women Against Poverty Collective is organizing in solidarity with the Step It Up! Campaign, a broadly based effort that aims to address the link between poverty and gendered violence, organized by Ontario’s women’s equality-seeking groups, shelters, rape crisis centres, unions, anti-poverty groups, and community groups.

In November 2006, over 50 women from the community and the Collective gathered to discuss a future action to draw public attention to the links between safe housing and women’s ability to live free from violence. Participants decided that they would like to do a Women’s Housing Takeover in Toronto – an action that would be both symbolic and practical to support women living in poverty and at risk of experiencing violence. For several months, the Collective has been meeting and strategizing with women in the community who are interested in planning and participating in a Women’s Housing Takeover Action.

Women are organizing to take for themselves what the government - through chronic under-funding of social housing and shelter services - has failed to provide: safe, accessible, and affordable housing for women and their children. We strongly believe that the success of the Women’s Housing Takeover will depend not only on the women participants and organizers themselves, but on building a strong and vital network of endorsers and supportive allies.

Our Demands

The right to adequate housing means that EVERYONE should have access to a safe, habitable, and affordable home. This housing requires that the space must fulfill the needs for: personal space, security, and protection from the weather. Women and trans folk and their children who are/have been survivors of violence should have priority to housing that allows them: to have security of tenure; housing which is affordable, is habitable, and is accessible.

Therefore we demand:

1) That the Federal government institutes and adopt Right to Housing legislation.

That the different levels of government develop a coherent, well-funded Canada–wide housing policy that has timelines, clear number of units to be built, and accountability components included in it.

3) That the building(s) that have been taken over in this action be turned immediately to safe, habitable, affordable spaces controlled by the women living in them.

4) That Social Assistance rates be increased by 40% immediately and be indexed thereafter to inflation rates.

5) That the criteria for inclusion on the highest priority housing list for affordable housing be amended to include all homeless women and those women who have been abused by their partners but who do not live with them.

6) That women should have access to universal subsidized childcare. That violence against women should be understood as an equality rights issue.

***Our demands continue to be developed - we will consult with women who participate in the action to include their feedback and demands.

Allies: Solidarity and Participation

The Women Against Poverty Collective’s Housing Take Over Action, is made up of a few concrete actions to draw public attention to the links between safe housing and women’s ability to live free from violence.

Allies can participate in many aspects of these events such as:

Endorse – sign up to endorse WAPC’s demands

March/Rally – create a marching contingent, help make this issue visible on June 3rd

Tent – set up a tent, rotate occupancy if needed; donate a tent/camping gear

Meal(s) – Take on organizing a meal/ donate nutritious foods/ food staples

Donations – See the list below

Entertainment – bring your talent to the front lines, help keep the party going!

Solidarity Actions –organize a solidarity action the week of June 3rd with sister organizations; post a sign in your window; take up a neighbourhood park for an evening with tents, write letters to government officials…be creative.

Donations List (Please note that this is a preliminary list, we will up date our website/contact allies as our needs change.)

Financial support: We are a group of women who have come together, donating our own time, energy and collective means ($) to keep things going. We are not a registered charity, nor do we have a working budget. Funds go towards making our meetings and actions accessible through TTC tickets, food, and supplies for our events.

Donations can be made out to: Parkdale Community Legal Services - memo should read "Fred Zemans fund for Women Against Poverty Collective."

Donations should be sent to: Parkdale Community Legal Services, 1266 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario M6K 1L3.

Food Supplies: Staples: Chicken, fish, fruit, and veggies, water, juice, coffee, tea, whitener; baby food; formula; digestives…ice.

Tenting Supplies: Tents, Tarps, Coolers, Sleeping Bags (washed), blankets, Rope, duct tape, Garbage bags, Camping mats/air mattresses, Ground pads Meal/Misc: Paper towel, Utensils (forks, knives, spoons, cups, plates), Dish towels, Napkins, glycerine soap, Water bottles, Storage bins, Pots/pans Placard making materials: Nails, screws, hammer, poster boards, art supplies Child Care: Art Supplies, Kids games, kiddie pool (it’s June) Personal: Toilet paper, Diapers, feminine hygiene products, soap, wet wipes, toothpaste, and towels First Aid Supplies: Band aids, alcohol/swabs, gloves, sunscreen, hats

For more information on WAPC, the housing takeover, and how you can be involved or provide support, contact WAPC's general line at 416-417-8962 or email us at

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