Ottawa- On Sunday, December 8th at about 5:30 PM, we were informed through a news story that we will be forcibly evicted from where we are living. Shortly after, a notice, issued by the NCC, was found posted to a tree just outside tent city. It states “This notice means that all persons who are camping must stop doing so, and that all tents or unauthorized structures must be removed”. It also embellishes and lies about the reality of our homeless status and the progress in our housing situation.
This attempt to push us further into insecure homelessness, is contrary to the governments (city and NCC) obligations under international human rights law.
As rights holders, not beneficiaries of charity, we the residents of Tent City residents demand the following:
1. We be provided with a focal point at the City of Ottawa and within the NCC with whom we can communicate and meet on a regular basis. We request that all communication is provided in written notice.
2. We be treated at all times with dignity and respect by city officials, NCC officials, police officers and any other government representatives.
3. We require emergency shelter in motels in the neighbourhood or as proximate to the neighbourhood as possible.
4. If we have to stay at Tent City, while we find housing, we demand better and livable conditions. Our right to safety is paramount and must be upheld. We demand electricity, toilets, non flammable heaters, water, tents, waste management services, and blankets. We have not been provided with this to date and this is contrary to our entitlements under international human rights.
5. Stop threatening evictions and our right to exist in public space.
6. Immediately make use of the many empty housing units available in the city to address desperate housing needs.
7. Reduce barriers on potential tenants and the requirements needed for them to successfully obtain housing.
8. Implement policy to ensure landlords that operate multiple properties and rental units designate a % of said units to be used for not for profit housing.
9. Increase penalties for landlords abusing their power and treating tenants unfairly.
10. Increase social assistance to match rent market.
11. Accelerate the development of low-income housing units that are currently underway. (For example: Gladstone + Booth + Baycrest.)
12. Refuse the sale of low-income housing units to private owners.
13. Implement oversight committee to regulate landlords to stop renovictions from happening.
14. That the City of Ottawa formerly acknowledge the right to housing.
These demands are not radical. These are modest demands to preserve human life and our right to not be pushed further into the periphery of being invisible. Housing is a human right.
On Friday, one of our sisters living at tent city was hospitalized due to serious medical conditions. Yesterday, we received the news that a friend of ours in the neighbourhood had died. Today, children from a class of grade 5 students met with us to present us with Christmas cards and express their hope for our cause and that they support us.
In the midst of all this, the NCC was plotting to post an eviction notice threatening our very existence, combined with a series of embellishments and lies about our homeless status. This is unacceptable.
We are requesting our supporters join us, at 7am at Tent City, to stop the threat of eviction and stand in solidarity with their homeless brothers and sisters.