How to Help the Homeless This Christmas

The Safe Streets Act is Ontario’s Anti-Panhandling legislation. It penalizes individuals who panhandle by fining or imprisoning them. Research into the effects of this act have shown that the Act does not decrease panhandling and instead makes it harder for people to get off the street, gain employment, or get housing. You can look at the research here: www.homelesshub.ca

This Christmas you can help the homeless and save Ontario money by encouraging your MPP to repeal the Ontario Safe Streets Act.

You can find your MPP’s email address here:http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_current.do…

Here is a sample letter that you could send:

Dear MPP,

I am writing to urge you to repeal the Safe Streets Act, 1999.

The law is a waste of police time and budgets, as the tickets issued cannot be paid by the indigent who are ticketed. Thousands of hours are spent each year by police issuing these tickets, yet less than 1% get paid.

The people getting ticketed are typically mentally ill, addicted, impoverished, and homeless: i.e., incapable of paying expensive fines. Often they accumulate thousands of dollars of outstanding fines, so some actually go to jail, simply because they are unwell.

For those capable of getting better, the spectre of these outstanding fines is a major barrier to re-entering the workplace, and otherwise working their way out of poverty. The Safe Streets Act, 1999, in short, has ended up criminalizing poverty and pain.

All of the foregoing is well established by social science research, thanks to the exhaustive work at the Homeless Hub Research and Information Centre. I would encourage you to review that research at www.homelesshub.ca

Please do all you can to repeal the Safe Streets Act, 1999, by (a) introducing a private member’s bill; (b) supporting such a bill; (c) urging the Government to repeal the bill via caucus meeting, Question Period, Statements and Petitions; and (d) speaking directly to the Premier and Attorney-General in the legislature.

Yours truly,
Your Name
Your Address (including postal code)
Your Phone Number