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Undocumented in Toronto: Building homes we can't live in


Rally for Housing and Public Services! Stop Ford’s Cuts!
26 Nov. 12pm - 2pm.
Meet at Moss Park, Sherbourne and Queen St E

Parkdale Forum: Hands Off our Affordable Housing and City Services!
26 Nov. 2pm - 4pm.
220 Cowan Avenue.

Join Stop the Cuts at Ford’s Budget Launch!
28 Nov. 9am - 12pm.
City Hall.

I work construction, working on condos but I live in a dump. The landlord knows that my sister and I don't have papers and harasses me everyday. I was kicked out of a youth shelter for having no papers too and I don't know where we will go if we get evicted.
- Alejandro*, November 20, 2011

On November 28th, Ford and his supporters on council plan to bring forward a budget that will see devastating cuts to services like libraries, childcare, shelters, programs at community centres, and more. On November 29th, City Council will also be voting on the proposal to sell-off over 1000 units of social housing. This is completely unacceptable. Instead of cutting housing and public services, we need to be expanding them, ensuring that all residents, particularly those without immigration status have access to all services.

Consider housing:

- In 2006, the Labourers’ International Union of North America reported that there were 20,000 undocumented workers in Toronto's construction industry. These people were working in the most dangerous aspects of the industry, often without safety equipment or decent pay. The housing boom in Ontario has happened on the back of undocumented labour. Today, the number of workers is probably much higher. [1]

- On December 24, 2009, Alexander Bondorev, Aleksey Blumberg, Fayzullo Fazilov and Vladimir Korostin, migrants without full status, fell off the side of a building while working because they did not have access to safety equipment, rights they could not demand because of their lack of status. [2]

- Non-status people, particularly women, have the highest rates of homelessness in Toronto, are the least likely to get permanent housing, are barred from social housing and are routinely unable to access shelters [3].

- Most shelters and transitional homes in Toronto, be it for youth or families, ask that undocumented people regularize their status during their stay at the shelter - an option just not available to most undocumented people in the current immigration climate.

- No One Is Illegal - Toronto organized to force immigration enforcement out of Anti-VAW shelters in Toronto in November 2010, but they returned in February 2011, insisting that they would enter Anti-VAW spaces provided that shelter managers of executive directors gave them permission. [4]

- Subsidized housing in Toronto is completely off-limits to communities without immigration status. You cannot even get on the list to apply for social housing or subsidized housing if you do not have immigration status (a list that is 10 years long).

As Toronto communities organize to defend autonomous communities such as Occupy Toronto and to evict Rob Ford, as we struggle to stop the cuts and defend public services, we must commit to expanding public services to ensure that all people in this city can live with dignity and respect. Please educate yourself on these facts and please forward widely.