DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women's Network Ontario

 

Women Against Poverty Collective (WAPC)
Women's Housing Takeover

May 14, 2007

Who We Are
What We Are Doing
Why We Are Doing This
When & Where
Contact WAPC
Facts About Violence Against Women
Facts About Poverty and Women
Ways to be Involved
We demand

Women Against Poverty Collective Blog
http://womenagainstpoverty.blogspot.com/

Click on this image of the June 3rd poster to visit the Blog of the Women Against Poverty Collective (WAPC) Who We Are:

The Women Against Poverty Collective (WAPC) began forming about a year ago. This group aims to bridge anti-poverty and antiviolence organizing in Toronto so that both better represent poor women’s experiences. Gender impacts how women experience poverty. Poverty brings violence into our lives and holds us back from freeing ourselves from it.

Within anti-poverty spaces it is rare for organizers to speak about their first-hand experiences of violence and it is even rarer for these experiences to be at the forefront of our strategies for challenge.


What We Are Doing:

HOUSING TAKEOVER: We are planning to come together to create our own housing in early June. Housing that is
controlled by us so that it is safe and accessible. This means taking an abandoned building and turning it into safe and affordable community spaces where women can live.

TENT CITY: We will organize a tent city that will surround the building to create a safe barrier, and to keep us visible. Solidarity actions are encouraged throughout the city as necessary to generate public awareness about the issues of women and poverty.

Why We Are Doing This:

While government, institutions and the rich have done nearly nothing to help poor and working-class women access safe, affordable housing, we have continued to survive cycles of homelessness reinforced by abusive men who use violence to control us. Our lobbying and pleas to the powers that be haven't won us the things we need. We have asked for safe and affordable housing and have gotten virtually nothing.

The only way we see that we can achieve our goals is to take the housing ourselves. We are ready to come together to exert our rights to housing that is free of violence. We want to challenge directly the forces that keep us poor and we want to
reignite action and grassroots activism around issues of violence and poverty. We aim to find ways of engaging women, trans women and their children in direct action and protest to challenge the violence and poverty in our lives. As one WAPC organizer said:

"We think it's time for women to take action…to do something
more forceful, more unladylike. We need to take up space!"



Saturday May 19 2007-
Pre-Takeover Gathering for Women & trans folk only

1 – 4 pm
17 Phoebe St. (north of Queen St., east of Spadina Ave.)
TTC, Childcare, Food provided
Wheelchair Accessible

Sunday June 3 2007-
Day of the Take Over!

12 Noon: Rally at Cawthra Square Park (north of 519 Church St.)
1:00 pm: March!

Contact WAPC for more information at:

Tel:       416-417-8962 or 416-531-2411, Ext. 251
Email:   womenagainstpoverty@gmail.com

This is a women, trans and children led action – men are
welcome to be our allies at the rally and the march.


"We have learned through history that sometimes we don't get anything unless we struggle and demand to get it. I hope that, by mobilizing the community of women we'll be able to take over, defend and keep affordable housing."


Facts About Violence Against Women:

  • 1/2 of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16
  • 1/4 of women are victims of assault by a partner.
  • Young women and girls from marginalized communities are more vulnerable to violence.
  • The rate of sexual abuse for girls living with disabilities is four times that of the national average.

Facts About Poverty and Women:

  • 1 out of 7 Canadian women are living in poverty – these women are most likely to be women of colour, immigrant and
    refugee women/women without status, Aboriginal women, young moms, senior women, women with disabilities, and trans people
  • Poverty limits women's independence and makes it difficult for them to leave an abusive partner, upon whom they may be economically dependent.
  • 1/3 of women in shelters go back to abusive situations because Welfare rates do not allow them to survive.

Ways to be Involved:

Contact us, come out to meetings, and spread the word!

Women can support this initiative in many different ways. We need women and allies to actively participate in the rally and march, to provide support with childcare, research, legal support, media, food coordination, preparation, repairs, etc.

All kinds of skills are needed!

We demand:

  • That the Federal government institutes and adopt Right to Housing legislation.
  • That the different levels of government develop a coherent, well-funded Canada–wide housing policy that has timelines, clear number of units to be built, and accountability components included in it.
  • That the building(s) that have been taken over in this action be turned immediately to safe, habitable, affordable spaces controlled by the women living in them.
  • That Social Assistance rates be increased by 40% immediately and be indexed thereafter to inflation rates.
  • That the criteria for inclusion on the highest priority housing list for affordable housing be amended to include all homeless women and those women who have been abused by their partners but who do not live with them.
  • That women should have access to universal safe, and affordable childcare.
  • That violence against women should be understood as an equality rights issue.


Women Against Poverty Collective Blog
http://womenagainstpoverty.blogspot.com/


Women Against Poverty Take Over Abandoned Building
See Photos and listen to Audio from the Women Against Poverty Collective: Housing Takeover Day Rally and March

Photos:
John Bonnar: http://www.johnb.smugmug.com/gallery/2947012#159131940
Graeme Bacque: http://tinyurl.com/327u5j

Audio:
http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=23409

Articles:
CTV Article: Police end anti-poverty group's house squat
Sun. Jun. 3 2007 http://tinyurl.com/3cbkd7

CITYNews: Police Clash With Protesters At Affordable Housing Rally
Sun. June 3, 2007 http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_11648.aspx


 


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Page last updated June 4, 2007

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