Tent City Goals Aims and Objectives

27 Jul

For over a week there has been a Tent City in Kitchener. The purpose of this tent city is two fold the first goal is to house people and give people the basic needs to survive. At this moment people are living on the streets fending for themselves sleeping in alleys and parks making them vulnerable to attacks from anti social elements, police etc.

As many parks in Kitchener have curfews and people are not allowed to sleep on public property it is quite clear that being homeless is de facto a crime. Armed with these by laws that target poor people police, by law etc wake people up at night, give them tickets, throw them in jail and basically treat homeless people like criminals despite the fact that the system itself is the cause of homelessness.

In Kitchener welfare is about 700 dollars a month which is the cost of a one bed room apartment every month poor people are forced to choose between paying rent or buying food. With the intensification of gentrification it is harder and harder for poor people to find affordable housing particularly near the downtown core where most services are located. Affordable housing is being torn down and replaced by condos that go for about half a million, quite outside the price range of most working class and poor people. As these building are going up and low income housing is getting torn down the war on poor people is being intensified by cuts to social programs , health care and assistance that people need to survive. These cuts are not accidental but are part of the neo liberal agenda that has started in the 1990s under the NDP lead by Bob Rae, intensified under the Conservative Party of Mike Harris, codified and legitimized by the Liberals and now under Ford family legacy carried out to its logical conclusion, class war against the poor.

In this political environment tent city is resisting by giving people a safe place to sleep, providing what food we can provide and taking up social responsibility. Furthermore Tent City is fighting to get people the housing they need because people deserve housing fit for human beings. By having a place where people are sleeping eating and struggling together we are making it harder for those whose bigoted hatred of the poor has intensified under this political climate from carrying out violence against poor people., in short creating a safer place for people to be.

While the state tries to make us invisible and brush this issue under the carpet we are taking center stage outside of the regions building on Weber street letting people know that we exist and wont go gently into that good night. Currently we are asking that all those who stay at tent city be provided with housing that is fit for human beings and as such have been working with the region to get people into housing.

Our secondary goal is to be truly radical and go to the root of the problem, Homelessness does not exist in a vacuum. Capitalism and imperialism have truly traumatized those who are homeless and poor creating many problems that need to be solved so that people can not only have a roof over their head but actually keep it. Over two years we have engaged in discussion with the community through public meetings, outreach and focus groups and have identified key issues that need to be solved to truly end homelessness. Those consulted include those addicted to drugs, those living on the streets, front line workers, family’s of the homeless, parents of drug addicts and others directly affected by this and after this have come up with a solution to the housing crisis as well as the current drug crisis that over the last few years has robbed our community of literally hundreds of people whom have died needlessly because of the backwards legislation which deals with the drug problem as a criminal issue forcing people to go shoot up by themselves in back alleys, many of them overdosing because of fentynol and carfentynol being laced in the drugs that they are using. Our solution to this problem has been presented to the city and the region and we are waiting for a response that will address these issues. Below is our proposal

https://julianichim.wordpress.com/2017/09/29/our-proposal-to-solve-the-drugs-crisis/

Since the region and the city have not yet instituted this and as of yet there is no safe injection site we are implementing this to the best of our ability at the tent city by having people trained in Naloxone over dose prevention on site 24 hours a day. This is not an endorsement of drug use but rather a recognition that people are using drugs and dying because of the fact that many drugs on the street are laced with Fentynol and carfentynol and people do not have access to naloxone or other such things to prevent overdoses. Until the people at tent city are housed and our proposal to solve the homelessness and rug problem are addressed we will continue our protest and take up social responsability

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