Published Dec 04, 2020This year, a large number of unhoused people have had their encampments threatened by the City of Toronto, who claim their tents go against city bylaws. Now, hundreds of Toronto musicians, such as Feist, Broken Social Scene and PUP, have signed an open letter demanding the city do better for these individuals.
The letter is addressed to Mayor John Tory, along with numerous members of Toronto City Council. In it, the musicians demand that the city not confiscate survival equipment, including Tiny Shelters, foam domes and tents. Further, they demand an immediate moratorium on encampment evictions and for 2,000 new shelter hotel rooms to be opened in the next four months.
"Throughout a global pandemic, the City of Toronto has refused unhoused people access to water, basic sanitation and survival gear, and instead made life increasingly difficult for people living in encampments," the letter reads in part. "We know that the city's winter plan offers only 560 indoor spots for people living outside, yet over 1000 people are currently unhoused. The shelter system is at capacity, and yet more people are being evicted from their housing every day.
"Now the city is asking some people to make an impossible choice: Go inside and risk dying of COVID in an unsafe emergency shelter or stay outside and freeze to death. While confiscating the only winter shelters the community has come together to provide to the encampments."
The letter is signed by the aforementioned artists, as well as members of Fiver, Partner, Fucked Up, Alvvays, Homeshake, Holy Fuck and many others.
Read the full letter here.