National Housing Day commemorates the 1998 declaration by the Big City Mayor’s Caucus that homelessness in Canada had reached crisis proportions. Each year, National Housing Day reminds us of the state of affordable housing in Canada and the lack of quality, affordable housing across our nation. While this year’s National Housing Day will be a time to reflect on lost opportunities like the failure to pass bill C-304, it is also a time for us to look into the future and renew our commitment to making housing a right in Canada.
Here are some of the actions taking place across the country:
Toronto – Members of the Right to Housing Coalition will be meeting at noon at St. James Park and marching to the Attorney General of Canada’s office in support of the recent RIght to Housing Charter Challenge brought by the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario. Upon arrival at the AG’s office there will be a rally demanding a national housing strategy. For more information firstname.lastname@example.org
Winnipeg – In Winnipeg join the Red Tent Campaigners as they camp out overnight Monday Nov. 21 along with the Occupy Winnipeg group in Memorial Park. The group will leave the park in the morning and march its way downtown past a social housing complex, finishing at the Winnipeg Remand Centre. The event is meant to symbolize where we want federal funding for housing to go (social housing) and juxtapose it next to where more and more federal funding for housing will be going (prisons and jails). Contact Right to Housing Manitoba for more details.
Regina – The Social Work Students’ Society is organizing a day of action starting in Victoria Park at 9 AM with participants marching to the Legislative building for a rally on the housing crisis and what needs to be done. Dr. Marc Spooner, housing and homelessness advocate from the University of Regina, Carmichael Outreach Executive Director Shawn Fraser, Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry Executive Director Peter Gilmer, and Angelica Barth from the Queen City Tenants Association will all be speaking, and a mayoral proclomation will be presented. Check out the SWSS facebook event page for more details.
Ottawa – In Ottawa the Alliance to End Homelessness will hold an all-day forum where the Mayor Jim Watson will Proclaim National Housing Day; Jim Silver author of Good Places to Live: Poverty and Public Housing in Canada and Stephen Gaetz Director of the Homeless Hub will be the keynote speakers; and an expert panel on tensions in urban development, will focus on how we can get the federal governments as well as provincial and local ones to create more affordable housing in the face of today’s challenges. See the www.endhomelessnessottawa.ca for more info.
Vancouver – Housing advocates and low income residents will be holding a press conference outside the Wonder and Palace Hotels, two of Vancouver’s most notorious SRO Hotels, to announce a group tenancy action and to call on all levels of government to provide greater support for tenants. Contact Pivot Legal Society for more details.
Newfoundland – In Newfoundland there will be an all day event with panel discussions focused on how we can get the federal government re-engaged in housing, and what can be done to get the private sector more involved in creating affordable housing. Contact the NL Housing and Homelessness Network for more info.