Speech Read Today at Regional Council Meeting,

18 Jan

Regional Councillors, city staff and spectators
I am here to address a serious crisis plaguing this city, the victims of this crisis include woman and children and a disproportional high number of youth ,this crisis is the homelessness epidemic, an epidemic created by the greed of those whom would fill their pockets with stolen from the mouths of these youth.

The current way in which the region is dealing with this is not in line with the on the street reality that poor people face and it is quite clear that the Region is failing poor people whom are forced to fend for themselves in horrible freezing conditions, hoping not to freeze to death or get beaten and robbed while they sleep.

The attempt of the Region to deal with this has been abysmal to the point of locking up poor people when there is no more room at shelters. The fact that the region is attempting to legitimize this by presenting this as voluntary is quite vile especially because the only alternative given is to freeze to death outside. The criminalization of people who are forced into this program starts from the moment when they are bright in, having their names run to see if they can be arrested for anything, to the strip search, having “saftey checks done to them every 30 minutes, and this experience which is pretty much the same experience that criminals get doesnt end until the door which is locked overnight is opened. One must have lost touch with the on the ground conditions if they genuinely believe that people like to be treated like criminals. The fact that poor people are more likely to be victimized by police makes the chances of people being re tramatised much higher.

This crisis that we are facing was created, and locking people up wont solve it . We need real solutions that go to the root of the problem. We are demanding that this program of locking up poor people be scrapped and be replaced with motel rooms. The fact of the matter is that the closing of the out of the cold has left a serious gap in resources that poor people need to survive. It is imperative that the Region create a temporary shelter with the equal number of beds that the out of the cold program had. This shelter is to be equipped with housing workers to get people into housing and help them stay in housing. The resources are their and at your disposal. We demand you take social responsibility and fix this problem. For its quite clear that we wont stay silently by while people are locked up in jail for being poor or freezing in the streets and we will make sure by any means that no one will freeze to death in the region this winter. There are enough abandoned buildings that there is no reason for anyone to freeze to death, if the region wont open them , we will!!!!

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