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Archive for September, 2018

HOMELESS IN REGINA

Posted by strattof on September 23, 2018

Regina’s homelessness crisis began more than a decade ago, in 2006, when rents began to rise sharply. Every year since, the crisis has worsened.

Today it has reached such disastrous proportions that Carmichael Outreach, Regina’s main housing support agency, has put out a call for donations of tents to give to people in need of shelter.

Over the past several months, Carmichael has been forced to turn people away with nothing.

  • There is no affordable rental housing in Regina.
  • Regina homeless shelters are full to over-flowing.

That’s where the tents come in: they are better than nothing. In the words of Carmichael’s Executive Director Cora Sellers: “We’ve given them to people who have nowhere to go at the end of the day because the shelters are full and they can’t get help from anywhere else….It’s a last resort so that they have some privacy and some form of shelter.” 

WHAT CAN WE DO TO END HOMELESSNESS IN REGINA?

HOMELESS IN REGINA: 6 KEY FACTS

  1. 286 people were identified as homeless in Regina’s 2018 homelessness count. This figure does not include the hidden homeless: people who are double-bunking or couch-surfing.
  2. Apartments are available in Regina, but for many people they are unaffordable. Affordable housing is defined as housing that costs residents 30% or less of their income.
  3. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Regina is $983, not affordable for a full-time minimum wage worker earning $22,800 per year, much less someone living on Social Assistance.
  4. Social Assistance only provides $459 for housing for a single person. There is no decent housing in Regina for $459.
  5. On July 1, the province cut off new applications for its Rental Housing Suppplement—a program that helped low income families and people with disabilities pay their rent.
  6. Without the supplement, a family with two children is left with only $711 for rent. The average rent for a two bedroom apartment in Regina is $1,141. 

SHELTERS ARE NOT THE ANSWER

Regina has six emergency shelters, with 152 beds in total. That’s not even enough beds to accommodate the 286 people identified in the 2018 homelessness count, not to mention the hidden homeless.

But emergency shelters are not the answer to Regina’s homelessness crisis.

  • Shelters are often not safe.
  • Shelters do not allow for self-reliance or a sense of dignity.
  • Shelters are not homes. A home is more than a place to sleep. It is a place where one can be any time one chooses and where one can keep one’s possessions—conditions not met by shelters, where, typically, folks have to be out of the building between 9 am and 6 pm, taking all their possessions with them.

What, then, is the solution to Regina’s homelessness crisis?

Tents                                                   NO

Enough money to pay the rent          YES

ENDING HOMELESSNESS IN REGINA

It will take all three levels of government to solve Regina’s homelessness crisis.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

In 2017, the Trudeau government launched a National Housing Strategy, which it promised would fix Canada’s homelessness crisis with $42 billion in spending. Will it?

  • The goal of the strategy is to cut homelessness in half over the next decade. Why only in half?
  • The bulk of the money won’t be available until 2020—after the next federal election. In the meantime, winter is coming.
  • Much of the money depends on provincial matching funding.

THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT

With its austerity budgets, the Sask Party government is making Regina’s homelessness crisis worse. The cutting off of the Rental Housing Supplement is only one example. Nor is the provincial government likely to provide matching funding for a federal government housing program.

THE CITY OF REGINA

In 2017, Mayor Michael Fougere brought a motion before City Council: The Plan to End Homelessness in Regina. There has already been an overabundance of such plans: the 2007 Regina Community Plan on Homelessnessthe 2013 Regina Comprehen-sive Housing Strategy the Mayor’s two Housing Summits the Mayor’s Housing Commission. Did nothing come out of these?

Moreover, the City of Regina’s commitment to providing funding to implement the plan depends on the provincial government also providing funding. Is this an escape clause for City Council?

In any case, $60,000 of City of Regina taxpayers’ money has already been spent on this new plan—to hire consultants. This money could have been used to house homeless people.

The plan is slated to be released later this month. So stay tuned.

TAKE ACTION TO END HOMELESSNESS IN REGINA

MARK INTERNATIONAL TENANTS DAY, OCTOBER 1: Attend a gathering in Knox-Met lower hall, 10:30 – 11:30 am, and learn more about issues facing renters in Regina—2340 Victoria Avenue. Tea will be served.

LET PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU KNOW

►You want his government to work to eliminate homelessness in Canada, not just cut it in half. ►You want all the money for the National Housing Strategy to be available immediately. ►You do not want any of the money to be dependent on provincial matching funding.

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-995-0253 

LET PREMIER SCOTT MOE KNOW

►You want his government to accept new applications for the Rental Housing Supplement. ►You want his government to contribute funding to federal and municipal plans to end homelessness.

premier@gov.sk.ca or 306-787-9433

LET MAYOR FOUGERE KNOW

►You are tired of plans to end homelessness in Regina. You want action. ►You want City Council to make ending homelessness in Regina a 2019 budget priority. ►You do not want city funding to implement the plan to be dependent on the provincial government providing funding.

mayor@regina.ca or 306-777-7339

 

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PIPELINE PROBLEMS

Posted by strattof on September 23, 2018

Last week, Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal overturned the Trudeau government’s approval of the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline, bringing its construction to an abrupt halt with its ruling

  • that the National Energy Board’s review of the project failed to take into account the impact of increased tanker traffic on BC’s marine environment; and
  • that the federal government did not adequately consult with First Nations whose rights are affected by the pipeline. 

The court ruling has prompted strong reaction.

FRUSTRATION & VEXATION

  • The Premiers of Saskatchewan and Alberta are both completely exasperated.
  • Prime Minister Trudeau is so upset that he’s bought the pipeline—with $4.5 billion of our tax dollars.

JUBILATION

Many Indigenous peoples and organizations, along with non-Indigenous environmentalists, are celebrating the court ruling as a victory in the struggle against catastrophic climate change and for the protection of the planet from further environmental destruction.

WHERE DO YOU STAND ON PIPELINES?

PROBLEMS WITH PIPELINES

CLIMATE DISASTER

  • The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will carry tar sands oil from Edmonton Alberta to the Vancouver-area BC coast. It will almost triple the pipeline’s capacity, increasing it from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day.
  • Tar sands development is the single biggest contributor to the growth of CO2 emissions in Canada.
  • For over three decades, climate scientists have been warning us that if we did not make significant reductions in CO2 emissions, we would face the worst effects of climate change.
  • Over the past year, those worst effects have been much in evidence: ●Deadly heatwaves ●Devastating droughts ●Raging wildfires ● Record floods ●Rising sea levels ● Extreme weather events
  • To be cost effective, pipeline infrastructure has to be in use for at least 30 years.
  • If the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is built, it will stop Canada from keeping its Paris Climate Agreement pledge to reduce emissions by 30% below 2005 levels.

ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD

PIPELINES

Pipelines are accidents waiting to happen. Kinder Morgan, the former owner of the pipeline that is now ours, claimed its pipelines are safe. Its safety record tells a different story. Since it purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline in 2005 until we bought it in 2018, there were 14 spills along the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Pipeline spills contaminate land, water, and air. They also kill wildlife and sicken people. Tar sands oil is particularly toxic because of the chemicals used to thin the thick sticky oil so it will run through a pipe.

TANKERS

The pipeline expansion will quadruple the number of tankers to more than 400 a year in the area of the Vancouver Harbour. Increased tanker traffic will increase the risk of shipping accidents and hence of tar sands spills in the ocean.

A GREAT BIG THANKS!

We are all in the debt of the Indigenous peoples who have taken the lead in the struggle to protect the land, water, air and climate from the dangers of the Trans Mountain pipeline. THANK YOU!

Together we can stop every pipeline!

SPENDING $4.5+ BILLION

THE TIMELINE

  • In April, Kinder Morgan halted all “non-essential” spending on the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline, citing BC opposition.
  • In May, the Trudeau government announced it would spend $4.5 billion to buy Kinder Morgan’s 65-year old failing, leaky Trans Mountain pipeline.
  • Last week, mere hours after the announcement of the court ruling, the Trudeau government finalized the purchase. In other words, our government just spent $4.5 billion of our tax dollars on a pipeline that may never (and should never) be built!
  • That $4.5 billion does not include the cost of constructing the pipeline expansion, an estimated extra $7.4 billion.

3 BETTER WAYS TO SPEND $4.5+ BILLION

  1. Invest in a clean energy future.
  2. Put in place a national plan, with incentives, to reduce energy consumption.
  3. Help oil workers transition to other forms of employment by creating more jobs in green energy.

STOP LINE 3

The Trudeau government also approved the Enbridge Line 3 pipe-line. Line 3 will carry tar sands oil from Hardisty Alberta to Superior Wisconsin, passing just a few kilometres south of Regina.

We must take action to stop this pipeline!

TAKE ACTION TO STOP PIPELINES

  1. Tell Prime Minister Trudeau
  • You don’t want public money, our money, spent on tar sands pipelines.
  • No matter who is paying for them, you don’t want any new tar sands pipelines.

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-995-0253

  1. Tell Premier Scott Moe that Saskatchewan must
  • Say “no” to both the Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipelines.
  • Start transitioning to renewable forms of energy.

premier@gov.sk.ca or 306-787-9433

  1. Join the Mother Earth Justice Advocates (MEJA) campaign to stop Line 3: motherearthjusticeadvocates@gmail.com 
  2. Learn more about Line 3: https://www.stopline3.org/

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