Over the last several months the Steering Committee for PFIB has been wrestling with what to do next to contribute to the work that needs to be done now in the current political, economic and social environment. We have made the difficult decision that PFIB is not the vehicle for our commitment to building power and changing the thinking, policies and programs that another regressive and oppressive government is forcing on people throughout Ontario.

We are going to wrap up PFIB.

… according to Pivot Legal Society, hostile design does more than just shoo homeless people away, it engenders a city-wide atmosphere of exclusion, driving Vancouver’s most vulnerable off the street into the city’s parks.

Not only does defensive design reinforce negative stigma, but it pushes homeless individuals to set up “informal tent city structures,” where people feel a greater sense of security and community, says Meenakshi Mannoe, a community educator.

According to data released June 12, approximately 2,223 homeless people were living in Vancouver this past March, including 614 without a shelter.

The small blue tent pitched in the shade of a willow tree at Centennial Gardens has been Danny Claybourn’s home for the past month.

Claybourn spent the winter months staying indoors through the Out of the Cold program.

Prior to that, the Montreal-born man said he had lived in the U.S. for decades, before being deported back to Canada.

Now, after months of living on city streets he’s desperate to find an apartment he can afford with the $1,200 a month he receives from ODSP, “or at least a room where I can be safe.”

Inn from the Cold, a Kelowna-based not-for-profit society that offered emergency shelter, case management and in-home support since 1999, is closing its office.

“It is with much regret that we feel we have no choice at this time but to close the society’s office,” said Kim Froom, the treasurer, in a press release.

In January the Inn closed the doors on the emergency shelter it operated, having lost its lease because the property had been sold for redevelopment. The search for a replacement space came up short.

Shopping carts do more than shuttle food around grocery store aisles — for members of Winnipeg’s homeless community, they often become a way of transporting all of their earthly belongings from place to place.

The problem is, it’s impossible to safely leave unattended a cart full of everything from clothes, bedding, food, tools — even cherished family photos — without the threat of someone coming along and stealing things.

Although MacLeod insists she’s done “some fantastic work for Ontario’s most vulnerable,” Ontario’s most vulnerable might have a different take.

Here’s a round up of Macleod’s legacy as Doug Ford’s social services minister:

1. Cutting a planned increase in Ontario Works and ODSP rates in half

2. Increasing costs for parents with autism by up to $80,000 per year

3. Planning half a billion in OW and ODSP cuts

4. Gutting food assistance for refugee kids

What follows are my experiences as a low-income and recently homeless Torontonian struggling to secure and maintain stable and affordable housing.

To that end, I’ll be mostly critical of the policies of the following agencies and programs: Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS), which administers the Transitional Housing Assistance Program and the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF); Ontario Works/Ontario Disability Support Program, which provides a maximum accommodation allowance of $495 per month; the Personal Needs Allowance, a former OW-related program that provided $27 per week to shelter clients; and the Community Start-Up Program (C-SUP), a former housing support program administered directly by OW/ODSP.

While the B.C. Supreme Court has ruled a complete ban on overnight sheltering in parks violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it is still possible to forbid homeless camps on a site-by-site basis, one B.C. community has determined.

In Langley City, a second site is about to become off-limits, with overnight camping banned in Rotary Centennial Park off 208th Street and Fraser Highway.

A proposed ban was given preliminary approval by council during their June 10 meeting, who passed it unanimously with no discussion.