It was standing room only at The Wellesley Institute on Tuesday evening for a special meeting to brief municipal election candidates on housing issues. Most of the time, during election campaigns, it’s the politicians that do the talking, but at the community housing meeting, it was the experts ” including street nurse Cathy Crowe, Toronto Disaster Relief Committee co-ordinator Tanya Gulliver, Wellesley senior fellow Michael Shapcott and Bonnie Briggs, a long-time housing advocate who has experienced homelessness ” who took to the stage and the politicians who asked the questions.
The Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, a community-based housing and homelessness advocacy group, and The Wellesley Institute co-sponsored the evening, which attracted almost 50 candidates seeking municipal office from many wards in Toronto (plus a couple of candidates contesting the mayor’s seat). It was an important opportunity for aspiring politicians to hear the facts and the analysis about housing and homelessness ” from a strictly non-partisan perspective.
Wellesley CEO Rick Blickstead welcomed the political candidates, congratulating them on their commitment to the democratic process and urging them to roll up their sleeves and get involved in solutions that will have a practical benefit in the lives of the people of Toronto.
Look for more details, including copies of the presentations, to be posted on the Wellesley web site shortly. We’ll also be posting links to municipal election toolkits that have been developed by community groups to assist voters as they consider the important choices that they will make on election day (November 13). For information on the municipal elections in Toronto, and to find out how to get your ballot, check out the City of Toronto’s Toronto Votes 2006.
– Michael Shapcott