York Region helps Toronto by building new Women's Shelter Belinda's Place

Ever since P.A.C.C. hosted, and then, following the results of the social audit, Behind The Masks, I have fought the idea of the region spending our needed and limited housing, shelter and social services funds on a new women's shelter with transitional housing and "programs". I had argued we already have the more of our shelter beds available to women than men, even though men make up 90% of York Region's "street homeless" and therefore most in need. I further argued as proof the Era Banner reported stats showing women's shelter use down in York Region after the opening of the "family shelter", which should have (and did) take some of the load off the battered women's shelters, and that single men had no transitional housing or centre as women do already. I argued all available resources needed go to permanent affordable housing to help everyone as the women would need affordable homes to move into after the 6 weeks stay anyway- the same max the men get.

At any rate, I take it all back. Yea, I now feel Y.R. needs to take care of Toronto's homeless women overflow, since currently they are apparently being shipped to Sudbury. That's right Sudbury from Toronto was the closest available shelter as relayed to me by a woman who called me from the YWCA there. I guess braggart Rob Ford has been saving his billion dollars by shuffling costs out of town on the backs of vulnerable women?

She mentioned that Toronto's Council self imposed bylaw stipulates all city run shelters, when they run at 90% capacity, must open up more beds - which they apparently have at the ready but don't use unless ordered to by the city. However, as mentioned in the city's council committee meeting, this has not happened over the past year - even though the women's shelters were running at 94% capacity and the men's 95 and 97% and so the now single women, and others I'll deduce, are being been shipped out.

Pretty soon though, thanks to the Region of York's  " Inn From The Cold" single women's shelter side which sits mostly empty as is, Y.R. will inherit Toronto's overflow, as I'm sure the policy is "the closest available single women's emergency shelter". After all, many have community supports I'm sure in close-by Toronto too where they became homeless, needed for their medical and mental health issues like doctors, counsellors, and meds / programs. But, as I understand it, Belinda's Place, our proposed new single women over age 27 shelter (we have "youth" shelters here for single women under 27 who can then stay up to a year) plans to have support programs, so I guess that means the drug rehab / addictions program services and the like. Great, maybe they can find the supports here that are lacking in Toronto.

This person, we'll call her Poetry On TV, also told me about a 'Dream Team' of Paralegals and the like who are making a difference in representing vulnerable tenants by using human rights code violation complaints, highlighting precedence, and pushing draft legislation protections. Cool stuff. Selfishly it seems almost refreshing to hear about others fighting the same issues, and so similarly vocal, yet so far away.

Here is an excerpt from Poetry On TV

November 9 2013 930am, YWCA Sudbury, Ont.

Two nights in my own room, with a locked passage door between me and the single mother on the other side. They're very quiet.  She's balanced in her views and goals for her and her son's lives. She's in Canada because a Sudbury resident decided all Filipino women are 'dumb immigrants' and he can use them as he has women since reaching puberty. His momma didn't know better, but, due to that fact, Canada is now where this intelligent pair live and put their contributions towards.

The woman with the raging son and three daughters were evicted last night. I heard the middle girl, eight-years-old, ask why they had to leave. No answer from the mother: She could not give voice to the fact she is at a total loss on how to deal with the trauma. And, the staff are trained to never comment to her as to what is and isn't appropriate. There remains silence as this three-year-old boy rages in attempts to be reconciled with trauma by having his pain acknowledged. The reconciled state of being occurs when the pain is shared between mother and child, no matter the gender.

Her eldest daughter, at 12 years-old, know this of life, but as a child, still, is powerless to effect the required dynamics to occur to bring about the reconciliation: For the adults to have, ostensibly, put the responsibility of her siblings in her lap is the mark of shame-based behaviour, the unconsciousness of our civilization.....

Beds await you Toronto!
Excerpt from the Dream Team in action, moving on Toronto City Council for enacting illegal bylaws restricting distance between group homes.  Any municipality restricting in this way should now take note.

I just found out from Kathy Laird of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre that the City Planning Department came out with a report last month that is recommending that City Council change the City of Toronto bylaws to remove the separation distances from group homes. If City Council accepts this recommendation, the Dream Team will drop its human rights complaint against the City.

Before the City decides what to do about the separation distances in group homes in the bylaws, it wants to have public consultations. There will be an open house about the City bylaws at Metro Hall in Room 314 on Thursday, November 28th at 4:00pm. I called City Hall to see if there would be any deputations and was told it would only be an open house with no deputations. So, its very informal. More details on the group home consultation in email below.

York Region's Inn From the Cold single women shelter
Here is the Chief Planner's report on group homes:


Amazing how interrelated things so seemingly unrelated can be.

PACC Man Out...Until next time.

Not So Fun Facts -

There are 57 shelters in Toronto for a population of roughly 3 million people and about 3,800 beds. Nine of the shelters are City operated. The city also funds 172 beds that are kept for emergencies.

York Region has roughly 1 million people and 8 shelters with two additional winter shelters. Women are welcome at 8 of the 11 with one for women only to come, as well as new transitional housing for women only.

York Region has 26 full time shelter beds for men - not shelters but beds. Good Night.