After the third round of talks with London, Ontario, city officials, an advocacy group for homeless Londoners, announced that they had ended their hunger strike after reaching an agreement.
It comes after Dan Odshorn, organizing member of the group #TheForgotten519, went on a hunger strike on the steps of City Council on Tuesday, calling for action to stem the rising tide of deaths among homeless Londoners.
“The Forgotten519 is confused and grateful to their community for making these urgent actions possible. We stand in solidarity with all frontline workers and are in solidarity with the solutions we collectively came up with today,” the group said in a statement.
We have seen the power of a collective voice from the front lines and how it can bring about change. Although this was not always the case, it clearly showed that these things were both necessary and achievable. We thank everyone who made this possible. »
The community demanded the city to:
- Stop removing campers, tents, campers, or squats in parks, along Thames Valley Parkway and on empty city grounds.
- Changing the role of the city’s Coordinating Early Response Team “from a displacement model to one that provides meaningful support… to campers at camp sites.”
- Create two indoor spaces that provide 24/7 support for those who do not have housing or shelter or need a safe place.
In response to early requests from the group, a nine-step action plan was created, including standards for when bylaws should be shared with the CWG and guidelines for dealing with the camps and people there.
Steps include requiring the community to train municipal law enforcement officials in things like a low barrier approach, harm reduction, and trauma-conscious action.
City officials meet “The Forgotten 519” on Thursday as the hunger strike continues
The plan also calls for the city and community working group to provide information on where people can and cannot set up camp from a bylaw point of view, and calls for the city to provide water and food for critical needs to London Cares for distribution.
The city will also increase access to showers for people living in campgrounds through the use of shower trailers.
“We value the willingness of institutions across the system to work together. The perspectives of frontline workers, who see and experience first-hand the effects of an extended and fractured system, are crucial to this process. This was a key part of this process,” said Kevin Dickens, Assistant City Director, Social and Health Development in London. Difficult conversations.
“Everyone who participated is clearly committed to collective action to make change happen, now and in the future. During yesterday and today’s sessions, we outlined actions we can take – in the city and across the system – to better support people experiencing homelessness, addiction, and occasional mental health issues.
The group’s third request for 24/7 assistance is still under construction, and a team is being formed to develop a venue for medium and long-term support in order to ensure the site is set up before winter.
The team will consist of representatives from various service providers, with the first meeting to be held on Tuesday 16th August at 9 am
‘Not in Our Name’: Homeless advocacy group begins hunger strike at City Hall in London
The goal is to have a plan ready within four weeks, depending on the agreed solution.
“London Cares is pleased to lead a collaborative community response to provide more support to homeless people in London to prevent further deaths. “Many agencies have come to the negotiating table to work with the City of London and The Forgotten 519 to find meaningful solutions,” said Anne Armstrong, Executive Director of Homeless Response Services at London Cares.
– wWith files from PKBNEWS Andrew Graham.
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