DECEMBER + JANUARY: supporting our houseless neighbours in Toronto

Beyond being an online movement platform, the '+PURPOSE' part comes from community outreach efforts. Each month, one local organization or cause is selected, and through this platform, I host one Fundraiser Class + donate a portion of all proceeds from the entire month in support of the featured cause. The mission is to raise awareness + funds to support our neighbours. But first, we must find ways to support ourselves. You can't pour from an empty cup.


As the days grow colder, it's become imperative that we support our houseless neighbours in the city. For the months of December + January, movement +PURPOSE will be donating 100% of proceeds from two Fundraiser Classes + a portion of all proceeds to local individuals + initiatives who are doing the work that our city should be doing: Toronto Tiny Shelters (Khaleel Seivwright) + Encampment Support Network.



Hopefully you've heard of Khaleel Seivwright, a Toronto carpenter who has been fundraising + building tiny shelters for our houseless neighbours -- but if not, you can now. He's been doing this voluntarily out of a garage he rented, with the resources he has fundraised. These shelters are durable, water-resistant, and equipped with carbon monoxide + smoke detectors.



But then he got a letter from the city, warning that legal action may take place if these shelters remain on city property because they are deemed as a fire hazard.


As the days grow colder, the need for safety, warmth + shelter is more urgent than ever (along with food, social + medical resources). Volunteers from Encampment Support Network (ESN) have been visiting 6 locations throughout Toronto to better-understand and support the people living in encampments since June, 2020.


The city of Toronto says that there are plenty of indoor housing to offer people and that 560 new shelter beds will be available based on the estimation of 500 people living without homes -- yet through volunteer work done by frontline outreach workers + advocates, we learn that there are over 1000+ people are living in encampments (and this number does not include our neighbours sleeping in stairwells, on grates or in trains).


The city says that indoor housing options are safer than encampments, and warns that encampments will be cleared only after residents are given notice + offered a safe space indoors -- yet when an encampment resident declines the shelter space for any given reason, the city evicts them + destroys or throws away their belongings + homes.


Why would anybody decline? Some reasons an encampment resident could decline may include: because the shelter is too far from their families, social + medical resources; because the shelter does not offer overdose prevention services; because of the striking COVID-19 deaths due to violations of physical distancing regulations, and more.


Most shelters are at capacity. Some residents get kicked out of shelters. And as we all know, the cost to live in Toronto is kind of a joke. So if encampments are not allowed, where are people supposed to go?



 


Join me in raising funds for Toronto Tiny Shelters + Encampment Support Network as we transition into the new year in the two below Fundraiser Classes:


Saturday, December 19 + January 23 // Fundraiser Classes
strength +STRETCH at 10.30AM - 11.15AM (EST)

To make a contribution, click on 'buy a pricing plan' to select an option that works for you, or book using an active class pack. If you want to donate a specific amount, you can select the $0 option and send an e-transfer of your choice to me at carman@movementandpurpose.com.



 


Below are more resources (including a petition to allow temporary shelters on public land) if you are interested in learning more + following along. And if you can, please share these resources on your social media platforms so we can collectively support our houseless neighbours.


Other things we can do include:

- learning more about homelessness and how it affects different intersections (IBPOC, womxn, children, immigrant or refugee status, people experiencing abuse + violence to name a few) differently

- investigating our own learned biases about homeless people + actively unlearning them so there is an opportunity for more compassion versus judgement

- having conversations with friends, family, children, coworkers, etc. to share awareness, reflections and to understand each others' experiences

- seeking + amplifying the voices of those who are experts in this field -- these people are not going to necessarily be an academic or a politician or an educator -- but are going to be the people experiencing homelessness + their actual lived experiences

- using your voice to write or email your city councils, mayors, etc. to demand better

- following, supporting + engaging with other individuals + organizations that are actively working to help serve the vulnerable (food, water, clothing, healthcare, shelter, etc.)

- volunteering + donating if you have the means to


I am NOT an expert, so if you have more information, resources or ideas that may be helpful to share, please do below in the comments!


 


Toronto Tiny Shelters : @torontotinyshelters | gofundme | petition

Encampment Support Network : @esn.to.4real

CTV article | CBC article

book class: movementandpurpose.com/booknow

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