REGENT PARK TV (AUDI0): The Downtown East Advocates for Safer Indoor Spaces for Homelessness Folks
By Ana Higuera
(Ana is a volunteer journalist with the FOCUS MEDIA ARTS CENTRE)
On today’s episode, reporter Ana Maria Higuera brings together community voices who are rallying to respond to the needs of at risk people who are experiencing homelessness during coronavirus pandemic.
This is one of the issues outlined in the Downtown East Advocacy Letter, a document drafted and signed mid-February 2021 by multiple organizations in the Downtown East who work with, advocate and care for street homeless folks. The letter was a compelling call for the city to mobilize its resources to reopen indoor public spaces, create more spaces and get people off the streets and safe from winter, COVID19 and ultimately homelessness, pointing out that closures “disproportionately affect(s) racialized people, especially Black and Indigenous people”.
Signatory agencies and organizations include The Sherbourne Health Centre, Seeds of Hope, Street Haven, Fred Victor, Yonge Street Mission, the 519, Dixon Hall, Building Roots and the All Saints Church-Community Centre among many others. With the dire pandemic circumstances, they have seen a significant rise in street homelessness as well as frostbite cases this winter, and as Priest Director Alison Falby from the All Saint Church-Community Centre told Regent Park TV, their hands are tied when it comes to supporting the increased number of folks in need. The City’s closures of public indoor spaces and programs, has put a serious strain on these agencies while their capacity to help has significantly decreased due to COVID19 restrictions. Some, if not all of these agencies have been tirelessly working and adapting since the start of the pandemic.
The signatories feel that our City can do better to take care of its most vulnerable residents, it is time to stop regulating homelessness and work to eradicate it once and for all.
Focus Media Arts (formerly Regent Park Focus) is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1990 to counter negative stereotypes about the Regent Park community and provide interventions to high risk youth living in the area.
We are motivated by the belief that participatory media practices can play a vital role in addressing local needs and development priorities, as well as support the work of building and sustaining healthy communities.
Today FOCUS Media Arts Centre serves as a community learning centre for new media, digital arts, and radio & television broadcasting. We provide a community facility dedicated to the training and mentorship of young people and the engagement of community members of all ages.
Address: 38 Regent St. (Lower Level) - Toronto, Ontario, M5A 3N7
Phone: Phone: 416-863-1074