MediaWrench Interviews: Lisa Schofield, OCAP – Sit-in at Mayor Ford’s Office 15-02-13 for the Homeless
My name is Lisa Schofield, I’m with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. We’re here at City Hall today on the Second floor in front of Mayor Rob Ford’s office. This is an Occupation. We’ve taken this space, set it up as a shelter for the day demanding that city act on homeless deaths. There’s been about 6 deaths in the last couple of weeks in the city of Toronto. People who have frozen to death on the streets. People who have died because of complications of being homeless in the city. And so we’re demanding action from the city on the fact that there is not enough shelter spaces for people, that the conditions in the shelters are terrible and unlivable, and that people need more support to get into housing. And we need more housing in general.
It’s a pretty diverse grouping of people. There’s people who are homeless, who have been homeless in their lives, are currently precariously housed. There’s people who work in community agencies, front-line workers in the community. And then allies who are coming in and out. We’ve had a teacher came by and brought us some coffee. We’ve had people coming in and out to support us.
They’ve told us that the building itself will close. They’ll close it down by 9:30. And they told us, essentially, that that is our deadline to leave by. We’ve said and maintained that we’re not going to leave, that we’re here and we’re going to stay until the city takes action on this crisis and has a emergency meeting and sets up emergency space. Our intention is not to leave. If the city chooses to respond in a security sort-of way and remove people forcibly, that’s something we’re putting on them. But this is an emergency and we’re not going to just watch as more people die.
If people want to come out and support, you could come today down to City Hall right now. If you’re watching this, this Friday evening. Otherwise there is a motion coming on Wednesday with Councillor Adam Vaughan [is bringing a motion for emergency action to be brought by the city] to deal with this crisis. People could come out Wednesday and come in support that motion and encourage your councillor and your local councillor to support that motion. Call them up. Also, just get involved and visit the OCAP website [OCAP.ca]; get involved in this movement.
OCAP Website: ‘Come To City Hall Now – Eviction at 9:30pm – OCAP Turns City Hall into Emergency Shelter‘ http://ocap.ca/node/1057
Digital Journal Story Link: ‘City councillors, activists discuss Toronto City Hall protests’
National Post Story Link: ‘Anti-poverty activists, homeless people camp out in front of Rob Ford’s office to demand more shelter beds’ http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/15/ontario-coalition-against-poverty/
Toronto Star Story Link: ‘Police called in to shift protesters camped out in front of Mayor Rob Ford’s office’ http://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2013/02/15/toronto_homeless_protest_outside_mayor_rob_fords_office.html
680 News Story Link: ‘OCAP protesters escorted out of city hall’
CityNews Story Link with Video: ‘OCAP protestors escorted out of city hall’ http://www.citynews.ca/2013/02/15/ocap-protestors-escorted-out-of-city-hall/
CP24 Story Link with Video: ‘OCAP protesters escorted out of City Hall peacefully’ http://www.cp24.com/news/ocap-protesters-escorted-out-of-city-hall-peacefully-1.1158697
Toronto Sun Story Link: “OCAP sets up temporary ‘homeless shelter’ inside City Hall” http://www.torontosun.com/2013/02/15/ocap-sets-up-temporary-homeless-shelter-inside-city-hall
Global Toronto Story Link with Video: ‘Police escort activists out of city hall after protest outside mayor’s office’ http://www.globaltoronto.com/homelessness+activists+set+up+makeshift+shelter+outside+of+mayors+office/6442810415/story.html