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Wave of Housing Actions (Canada)
by Graeme Bacque Sunday October 27, 2002 at 10:13 AM

... Montreal ....... Vancouver .... Sudbury ........ Guelph .. Toronto Housing actions to take place on or before this Saturday, Oct. 26th ...

MONTREAL


GIVE IT OR GUARD IT!

Empty buildings shouldn't be used to make rich people richer!

ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26th, we will occupy an empty building slated for
demolition that will be replaced by luxury condos. Authorities be warned:
you can give it to us or you can guard it!

MEET: Parc George-Étienne Cartier, Corner Notre-Dame and
Sq. George-Étienne Cartier (Metro Place St-Henri)

DATE: Saturday, October 26, 2002

TIME: 1 PM SHARP

A free meal will be served!
Bring your banners & your noisemakers.

The cold weather is setting in and Montreal's housing crisis IS NOT OVER. As
luxury condos sprout up all over the South-West, increasing numbers of
people
do not have homes to shelter them this coming winter. At the same time, over
thirty buildings lie unoccupied in the South-West alone. These buildings
should be housing!

But what is really happening to these empty buildings?

Some have been destroyed by fires that have made them uninhabitable. Their
very presence poses a danger for residents of the neighborhood. Most of them
have been in such a state for a long time, and their owners are just waiting
for the right moment to sell them.

Over the past year, many unused buildings (9) in Saint-Henri have suddenly
come back to life. Some buildings have been renovated, only to be rented at
exorbitantly high prices (eg. $800.00 for a 4 1/2). Others have been
converted into condos, or demolished in order to be replaced by new
condos. What is left over, then for the poorest individuals and families
who are hardest hit by the housing crisis?

Instead of opening a dirty and unsafe building, we have chosen to denounce
the theft of the neighborhood of St-Henri by big real-estated developers. We
have therefore chosen to visit one of these developers who recently obtained
permission to demolish industrial buildings in order to build 450 luxury
condos and lofts. We will occupy these buildings (located at 4110 - 4129
Ste-Ambroise) in order to publicly denounce this development and to show
the authorities that we reject the use of abandoned buildings to make
rich people and corporations richer.

We have warned municipal politicians and the owners that they can either let
us occupy these buildings, for eventual transformation into social housing
at
their expense, or they can guard it.

The occupation will be preceded by a guided tour of some of St-Henri's
abandoned and unused buildings.

On October 26, 2002, they can give it or they can guard it.

For more information, or to get involved, contact
claclogement@yahoo.ca or 514.938.4538.

This action will be carried out in coordination with other "Give it or Guard
it!" actions taking place on October 26 in communities throughout Ontario,
and as part of the build up to a national day of building takeovers next
spring and summer.

It is organized by the Comite Logement of the CLAC and marks the beginning
of
a broader campaign for universal housing. Our demands for this campaign
include:

* Build 400 new units of social housing in the South-West immediately.
* Establish a moratorium on the construction of condos across the Island
of Montreal.
* Keep the Lachine Canal public space.
* Establish a rent freeze until the housing crisis is over.
* Make unused buildings legally squattable and require that all repairs and
the connection of water, electricity and heating be done at the City's
expense.

---------------------------------------------------------------


VANCOUVER

The Anti-Poverty Committee Joins a Canada Wide Housing Campaign:

In 1995, the Federal Government cut their funding for social housing,
leaving
the responsibility to the provinces. British Columbia was one of only two
provinces to provide decent, affordable housing to poor and working people
who need it and suffer without it. The Liberal Government changed that as
soon as they took power; cutting funding for social housing and abandoning
responsibility to under-funded, overburdened municipalities who in turn are
trying to contract the projects privately. Now, after making applications
for
arbitration incredibly difficult for renters by closing the downtown
Vancouver
Residential Tenancy office, they are planning to gut the Residential Tenancy
Act. There is now no new social housing being built in the province or
anywhere in the country and the rights of market renters are being stolen
away.

The Woodwards Squat has brought the issues of homelessness and housing
crisis
into public attention in B.C. throughout the past month; the same has been
true in Quebec with the Squat in Quebec City, in Ontario with the Toronto
Pope Squat, and the recent squat in Victoria. Housing issues in Canada go
far
beyond homelessness, touching the lives of all poor and working people in
the
country. The struggle for decent, dignified and affordable housing is one
that affects everyone and addresses all levels of government as responsible
and negligent.

GIVE IT OR GUARD IT!

The APC joins organizations and people across the country in the call to
build and to convert abandoned buildings into social housing. If they are
unwilling to build it, they will have to guard it because WE WILL TAKE IT!

On October 26th, in solidarity with new squats being opened in Ontario and
Quebec, the Anti-Poverty Committee will announce the addresses of the empty
buildings in Vancouver that are owned by the city and the province. We will
open these buildings and fill them with people unless the Government does it
first.

DEMANDS:

* The Federal and Provincial Governments must begin funding social housing
immediately and build over 2000 units of housing a year in B.C.

* The City must develop an anti-vacancy by-law to seize and convert
privately
owned abandoned buildings and property into social housing.

* The Province and the City must develop rent controls to ensure that no one
pays over thirty percent of their income to housing.

* The Province must re-open all closed Residential Tenancy Offices and make
no changes to the Residential Tenancy Act that would diminish the rights of
renters.

* Develop the Woodwards building into social housing immediately and respect
the rest of the demands of the Woodwards Social Housing Coalition.

Add your organization to the list of groups that endorse these demands and
campaign:

Name of organization: _________________________________________________

Contact information: __________________________________________________

Fax / Email / Call Endorsements to:

Anti-Poverty Committee

42 Blood Alley Sq. Vancouver B.C. V6A 1C7

Phone: 604-682-2726

Fax: 604-687-4347

Email: apc@resist.ca


------------------------------------------------------------

SUDBURY

Social Housing Now!
Memorial Park
5pm

Friday October 25th

Send the message that affordable housing is too limited in Sudbury, while
abandoned buildings are standing all over.

For this reason, we challenge:
GIVE IT OR GUARD IT

Demand these properties be used or turned into affordable community
housing for the estimated 500 homeless people in our community. Join with
the ONTARIO COMMON FRONT SUDBURY in a housing action that is long
over-due. Hear speakers explain the affordable housing crisis, enjoy a
free meal, and prepare to take action!

-------------------------------------------------------------

GUELPH

Like must communities across Ontario and throughout the country, Guelph
is in the midst of a housing crisis. The federal and provincial
government's withdrawal from funding social housing has had a tremendous
impact on the availability of affordable housing in our community.

The vacancy rate for rental housing in Guelph, currently at 0.7 % is one
of the lowest in the country and is well below the 3% vacancy rate
required for a stable supply of housing.

While vacancy rates have been dropping rent has been increasing. Since
1991 rental rates in Guelph have increased more than 20%.

The waiting list for Guelph's assisted-housing is approaching 3500
households. It is believed that at the rate the social housing is being
filled in this community, it would take 22 years to provide housing to
all those that are currently on the list.

On October 26th in solidarity with actions by the Ontario Coalition
Against Poverty in Toronto, and activists across the country the Guelph
Action Network will be kicking off a wide scale housing campaign

We will gather at St. George's Square (intersection of Woolwich and
Quebec) on Saturday October 26th at Noon. We will rally and march and
hold an action at a potential housing site in Guelph. There will be free
food available.

For more information, call (519) 763-7138 or email gan@dojo.tao.ca


-------------------------------------------------------------

TORONTO

Open 'em Up!
March for Housing

MEET: at former Tent City site
(parliament and lakeshore)
*bus leaves Parkdale at 12 pm from 1510 King Street*

DATE: October 26th, 2002

TIME: 1pm

Free meals will be served.

Dozens of buildings lie empty and unused in Toronto while people live and
die on our streets. The days when they can board up property are over. We
say give up those vacant buildings to the people who need them. It's
either that or defend them with cops. We won't stop until everyone has a
decent home.

There is a housing crisis in Toronto. Police have already aggressively
evicted hundreds of homeless people from the city's parks and 125 people
from Tent City this fall. Shelters are overcrowded and unsafe. Affordable
housing has a 5 year waiting list. With winter coming, there is nowhere
for people to go.

On October 26th, OCAP and its allies will do what this government refuses to
do: open up new housing for the homeless. We did it at 1510 King Street West
and we will do it again.

If the city doesn't give us anywhere to sleep, we will take it.

Demands:
* convert the squatted building into social housing.
* city-wide inspection and repair blitz - inspect and order repairs on all
unsafe and substandard housing in the city of Toronto.
*stop economic evictions - raise the minimum wage to $10 / hour.
*restore the cuts to social assistance.
*restore rent control.
*build 2000 units to social housing every year.
*adopt the proposed "Use it or Lose it" by-law.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Housing actions are also planned for Kingston and Belleville.

--------------------------------------------------------------

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