Is Everyone in Co-operative Housing Really Co-operative?

Housing co-operatives, whether non-profit or ownership models, do require some degree of deliberate co-operation. Naturally, there will be conflicts of all kinds:  many types of activities and behaviours, even if no criminal law or City by-law is broken, may breach a co-op’s rules,  and annoy neighbour or possibly both. When the rent, known as occupancy charges,  gets behind, the concept of “co-operation” gets stretched to the breaking point. Membership meetings are held, and the landlord who can evict you is — surprise! — your neighbours! This is much more personal than in a condominium, where a bank may repossess your unit if your mortgage falls behind, or the condo unit owner can lock you out if you are renting the unit, or a corporation places a lien on your unit if the monthly condo fees are not paid.

The most striking difference between co-op housing and all other forms of tenancy,  besides the charming aspect that residents are called  “members”, is that until this year, financial problems and evictions ended up in a different and much more expensive court process than all other evictions. At our legal clinic we are  eagerly anticipating changes that will simplify (we hope) the problem-solving for co-op members. On June 1, 2014, the Landlord and Tenant Board will become the arbiter of co-op disputes.

What is so monumental about this change, and who is going to notice?  We think that all agency and settlement workers might want to be aware of this, in case their clients live in co-ops. Also, social assistance office employees should be pleased: resolutions should be faster, easier and less expensive for all. We hope. For more information, the Co-op Housing Federation has put it all in one place, in their newsletter at  http://www.chfcanada.coop/eng/pdf/ONB/ONB2014-04.pdf

If you are a co-op member, you have probably received quite a bit of explanation about the changes, but if not, you should inform yourself. Decisions will still need to be approved by the members. You might find that you are the subject of the new process, or the decision-maker.

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Job Opening: Crime Fighter, No Cape Required.

By Ann McRae

 

Today’s crime fighters wear jeans and sweaters, carry a cell phone and work for a vast network of modestly funded agencies.

Furthering Our Communities: Uniting Services (FOCUS) Rexdale is the City of Toronto’s first foray into a model of crime prevention that was first developed in Glasgow and later tested in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

 A familiar scenario

Picture this:

A young man with low education and a low-paying part-time job is stressed out over his limited chance to improve his financial situation, and by his six year old child’s untreated autism. He snaps over one more degrading remark at work, and quits. He goes home angry, damages his own door when he kicks it open, not knowing his autistic son was holding it shut. He rages at the child, gets in a scuffle with his girlfriend who calls the police.

The police order him to leave for the night. He gets stoned and comes back. Mother and children flee.

A police officer takes them to a shelter, arresting him the next morning. A shelter worker sees signs, which obliges her to contact Children’s Aid Society. The children are placed in foster care.

The landlord sees police cars and upset neighbours. The landlord begins an application to terminate tenancy due to the illegal act of damages to his property.

The social assistance worker is asked to re-direct the assistance cheque to the mother, but doesn’t know the young man had been working.

Social assistance levies a large debt against the family, and reduces assistance because the children are in foster care.

Rent falls behind while eviction proceeds.

 

What if…

…all the agencies that know about this family’s troubles could sit together?

…the child’s school referred the parents to some support?

…support or hope or counselling could help the father keep things in control?

…the police, crown attorney and duty counsel could divert the man from conviction to community service for the housing provider?

…the housing provider could hire him as a painter, after his community service?

…he could avoid a conviction and be so proud of his success that he opened a painting business?

 So, where do we start?

Community initiatives are always hard work. Justifying every nickel of funding is also hard work, because the results are very difficult to measure. How does one put a price tag on changing lives and changing communities?

In Rexdale, groups including the City of Toronto, youth crisis agencies, public housing providers, Toronto social services, Toronto Police Services and Rexdale Community Legal Clinic gather at the table. In this context, “coming to the table” is not just jargon. It is a weekly meeting!

Following the Saskatchewan model, the purpose of FOCUS Rexdale is first, to identify a person or family at high risk of:

  • gang activity
  • violent incident
  • criminal involvement
  • homelessness
  • suicide.

Often, there is a complex web of issues or a snowballing of events that create the high risk situation.

 

What’s on the table at FOCUS Rexdale?

When all the partner agencies gather behind locked doors, then what? Who will be the one to mention this family?

Maybe it will be someone from social services or a police officer who flags what has happened.  Or perhaps it will be the Youth Justice Worker at Rexdale Community Legal Clinic. She got a call from the father on the morning of his release. Duty counsel at the courthouse, after a short conversation with his wife, identified him as a person at extreme risk. The entire family unit fits this red-flagging measure when immediate intervention is needed.

Too often, the legal clinic gets called only when an eviction is looming, or a suspension from social assistance has caused enormous rent arrears to pile up, or when an eviction has already happened, or when a jail term has just ended. At Rexdale, special project funding allows us to be “at the table” and to be part of the change that is needed.

If all legal clinics could partner with all service agencies in this way, it would be the legal equivalent of distributing flu shots for free. It would stop the spread of the diseases of despair and crime and the cycle of poverty.

Ann McRae is the Director of Legal Services at Rexdale Community Legal Clinic.

 

NATIONAL HOUSING DAY: TENANT RIGHTS

High-rise appartment buildings at Kipling & Panorama, Rexdale.

This article is adapted from Rexdale Community Legal Clinic’s Tenant Rights presentation prepared by Alrica Gordon. It is intended for informational purposes only and does NOT constitute legal advice. If you have an issue with housing, tenant rights, are facing eviction, or for all other legal matter please call the clinic directly at (416)741-5201. We do NOT give legal advice online.

TENANCY AGREEMENTS

  • A contract between a landlord and tenant in which the tenant agrees to pay rent for the right to live in a rental unit provided by the landlord.
  • The Residential Tenancies Act does not require all landlords and tenants to have a written tenancy agreement or lease.   A tenancy agreement can be an oral or written arrangement.  However, it is generally better to have a written agreement

WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD BE CONTAINED IN THE AGREEMENT

  • The date the tenant will move into the rental unit
  • The rent amount
  • The date rent is to be paid
  • What services are included in the rent (such as electricity or parking) and any separate charges
  • The rules that the landlord requires all tenants to follow

SETTING THE RENT

  • No limit on how much rent landlords can charge new tenants when they first move in.
  • Starting rent will be whatever you and the landlord agree on.
  • There ARE limits on how much and how often your rent can go up

A pen lying on the Signature line for an agreement

RENT INCREASES

There are 3 main rules your landlord must follow to raise your rent:

  • 12 MONTHS APART

After you move in, your landlord must wait at least 12 months before raising your rent

  • 90 DAYS WRITTEN NOTICE

You must receive 90 days written notice  before your rent goes up.

  • GUIDELINE AMOUNT

The provincial government sets the guideline for rent increases for each calendar year.  The landlord has the right to raise your rent by that amount.

2013                2.5%

2014                0.8%

RENT DEPOSITS

  • A landlord can collect a rent deposit if it is requested on or before the day that the landlord and tenant enter into the tenancy agreement
  • The rent deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent or the rent for one rental period, whichever is less
  • The rent deposit must be used for the rent for the last month before the tenancy ends.  It cannot be used for anything else, such as to pay for damages

'Appartment for rent' sign

WHAT INFORMATION DO YOU HAVE TO PROVIDE?

A landlord can ask the person applying for the rental unit to provide information such as:

  • Current residence,
  • Rental history,
  • Employment history,
  • Personal references,
  • Income information (if credit references and rental history information are also requested).

However, the Ontario Human Rights Code has special rules about asking for information about the income of a prospective tenant.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAINTAINING THE UNIT?

It is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain the unit and ensure that it is in a good state of repair, even if:

  • The tenant was aware of problems in the unit before they moved into it, or,
  • The landlord puts into the lease that the tenant is responsible for maintenance
  • However, the tenant is responsible for keeping the unit clean, up to the standard that most people consider ordinary or normal cleanliness
  • The tenant is also responsible for repairing or paying for any damage to the rental property caused by the tenant, their guests or another person living in the rental unit

WHAT SHOULD A TENANT DO IF REPAIRS ARE NEEDED TO THEIR BUILDING OR UNIT?

  • First talk to the landlord and let the landlord know what the problems are
  • Put all the problems in writing and give this to the landlord or the person who takes care of these problems (e.g. the superintendent or property manager)
  • If the landlord refuses to do the repairs or the tenant thinks that the landlord is taking too long to deal with them, the tenant has several options

CAN A LANDLORD ENTER A TENANT’S UNIT?

  • Only under specific circumstances.
  • In most cases, the landlord must first give the tenant 24 hours written notice, stating when they will enter and for what reason.
  • There are some exceptions, however, such as in the case of an emergency or if the tenant agrees to allow the landlord to enter the unit

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF A LANDLORD ENTERS A UNIT ILLEGALLY?

The tenant may file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board. If the Board finds that the landlord has entered the unit illegally, there are a number of things that the Board may order:

  • the tenant could receive an abatement of rent
  • the landlord could be ordered to pay a fine

A kitchen water tap drips.

UTILITIES AND VITAL SERVICES

Your landlord CANNOT cut off or interfere with any vital services, e.g. supply of water, electricity or heat. If this happens, call the legal clinic or the province’s Investigation & Enforcement Unit:
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Investigation & Enforcement Unit
1-888-772-9277
http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/ieu

MOVING OUT

You must give written notice that includes the date you want to move out, and you must give the notice a certain number of days before you want to move out.

Personal belongings packed into a box

EVICTION

  • It is against the law for your landlord to evict you without first getting an order from the Landlord and Tenant Board
  • The Landlord must follow the steps set out in the Residential Tenancies Act

REASONS TO EVICT

  • You owe rent
  • You often pay your rent late
  • You or your guests did something illegal on the property
  • You or your guests caused damage or serious problems for your landlord or other tenants
  • Your landlord wants to tear down the building or use it for something else
  • Your landlord, your landlord’s family, someone buying your place, or the buyer’s family wants to move in.

If you do not want to leave or if you do not agree with the reasons in the Notice, you do not have to move out.  Get legal advice right away!

WHAT IF YOU DON’T MOVE OUT?

If you decide not to move out when the landlord gives you a Notice, the landlord must give you:

  • A Notice of Hearing from the Landlord and Tenant Board
  • An Application explaining what your landlord is asking the Board to do

LANDLORD & TENANT BOARD

  • The tribunal settles disputes between landlord and tenants
  • The tribunal enforces the right of the landlord or tenant
  • It is like a court, but less formal

LANDLORD & TENANT BOARD HEARINGS

 It is important that you go to the hearing. If you do not go, the Board can hold the hearing without you.  If that happens, the Board member will probably decide to evict you because they will not hear your side of the story.

 Bring evidence to your hearing:

  • Witnesses
  • Photos
  • Inspector’s reports
  • Work Orders
  • Audio or Video recordings

WHERE TO GET HELP

  • Your Community Legal Clinic
  • Legal Aid Ontario Tenant Duty Counsel
  • M.A.H. Investigation and Enforcement Unit
  • Landlord and Tenant Board
  • Tenants’ organizations
  • Your neighbours

If you are having issues with housing, tenant rights, or are facing eviction, please call us at (416) 741-5201.

Rexdale Community Legal Clinic
416-741-5201
www.rexdalecommunitylegalclinic.ca

CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY LEGAL CLINIC

Legal Aid Ontario
1-800-668-8258
TTY: 1-866-641-8867
http://www.legalaid.on.ca

Landlord and Tenant Board
416-645-8080
http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Investigation & Enforcement Unit
1-888-772-9277
http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/ieu

Federation of Metro Tenants Association
416-413-9442
http://www.torontotenants.org/

Community Legal Education Ontario
http://www.cleo.on.ca/

Your Legal Rights
http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/

Rexdale Community Legal Clinic's Logo

Ask the Hub – HOMELESSNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH IN CANADA (Infographic)

Ask the Hub – Homelessness and Mental Health in Canada

by Homeless Hub
August 09, 2013

 Image of Homeless Hub This post is part of our Friday “Ask the Hub” blog series. Have a homeless-related question you want answered? E-mail us at thehub@edu.yorku.ca and we will provide a research-based answer.

Dear Homeless Hub

Many times when I come across a person who appears to be homeless, he/she also seems to be mentally ill. In your experience, have you discovered that most homeless people are also dealing with a mental illness of some sort? If so, is one kind of mental illness more prominent than others?

Kerry Barbieri
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Dear Kerry,

Mental illness is often misunderstood in our society, and this is particularly true as it pertains to people who are homeless or street-involved. It can sometimes be challenging to determine how many homeless people have mental health issues and what types or substance use issues because of the lack of research and data. It is also a challenge to determine whether the mental health issue or substance use caused the person to enter homelessness, or whether these issues arose from their experience of being homeless.

In 2007, the Canadian Institute for Health Information published “Mental Health and Homelessness” report that outlined a number of studies on mental health. There was some general information, but they mainly focused on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, substance use and depression. Studies have found that as many as 29% of shelter users have met criteria for one of several mental illnesses including: anti-social personality disorder (along with depression), PTSD or psychotic disorder.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The same report drew attention to research of homeless youth that found 24% of youth met the criteria for PTSD. Additionally, 40% of youth who met the criteria for Substance Use Disorder also met the criteria for PTSD.

Schizophrenia: There are also overlaps with schizophrenia. One study in Toronto of 300 shelter users found 6% had a psychotic disorder (including schizophrenia). Another study with 124 shelter users in Vancouver found that 7 out of 124 shelter users (nearly 6%) had schizophrenia. This is a significant increase when compared to the general population diagnosis rate of 1%. Substance Use – Throughout Canada, the well-being survey found that 1 to 4% of Canadians have suffered from issues with substance dependence. Several studies have looked at substance dependence and homelessness. A study in Toronto found 68% of shelter users reported a diagnosis of dependence sometime in their life. A study in Vancouver found 44% of homeless adults used non-prescription drugs in the past month. A study in Edmonton found 55% of youth had reported using at least one of the following four drugs in the past year: cocaine, heroin, amphetamines or tranquilizers.

Depression: Throughout Canada, 14-17% of women and 7-10% of men have been diagnosed with depression. In a study conducted in Ottawa, 39% of male youth experiencing homelessness reported symptoms of depression, compared with 20% of male youth who are housed. A separate study, also conducted in Ottawa, found 33% of adult males experiencing homelessness reported having difficulties with mental health; 20% had depression.

Homelessness in Canada

Homelessness in Canada INFOGRAPHIC: the homeless hub

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) estimates that between 25 to 50% of homeless people in Canada have mental illness. Out of those with severe mental illness, up to 70% also have difficulty with substance abuse.

MHCC also found that 520,700 people with mental illness are inadequately housed and up to 119,800 people with mental illness are experiencing homeless. Despite these high numbers, there are only 25,000 supportive housing units currently available across Canada.

The interim report (Sept 2012) from the At Home/Chez Soi project administered by MHCC states: “Over 900 individuals from our shelters and on our streets who have not been well served by our current approach are now housed in adequate, affordable and suitable settings. Eighty six percent of participants remain in their first or second unit (as of August 2012). At 12 months those in the Housing First intervention had spent an average of 73% of their time in stable housing. In contrast, those in treatment as usual (TAU) spend only 30% of their time in stable housing. This creates the possibility of better long term health and social functioning outcomes for individuals who have histories of trauma and poor health. Once housed many are beginning to take advantage of the safer places and the opportunities that are created to make better life choices – including pursing opportunities to engage in part or full-time employment.”

As you can see Kerry, it’s hard to get an exact fix on the numbers. What the research does tell us is that there is a strong link between homelessness or insecure housing and mental health issues. Certainly, research has proven that a Housing First approach to solving homelessness – no matter what an individual’s issues are – allows a person to stay housed and to address their other issues over time.

Tanya Gulliver & Isaac Coplan
Homeless Hub

For more information on the relationship between homelessness and mental health visit our Topic – Mental Health.

 

Article source:
Ask the Hub – Homelessness and Mental Health in Canada.

Why Poverty?

Poverty in Canada - TVO Infographic

Poverty in Canada – TVO Infographic

http://ww3.tvo.org/whypoverty/main

2013 Street Needs Assessment

The City of Toronto’s Interim Report on homelessness titled “Street Needs Assessment 2013” estimates there are 5,219 people living on the streets, a 1% increase from 2009. The results are based on more than 2,000 completed surveys, more completed surveys that any previous years, and also the longest SNA survey, at 13 questions, to date.

The survey found more than a third of the outdoor homeless population identified as Aboriginal, up 18% from 2009.

19.3% of homeless youth identified as LGBQT compared with 9.5% identifying as LGBQT among the total homeless population. 15.6% of the outdoor homeless population claimed to have served in the Canadian Forces. Questions about sexual orientation and military service were not asked in previous SNA surveys.

The amount of seniors among the homeless population has more than doubled since 2009 with 10% of the homeless population aged 61 or order. Those aged 51 and older represented 29.1% of the homeless population indicating a trend towards an aging homeless population. Those aged under 21 accounted for 6.5% of the homeless population, down from 8% in 2009.

While there has not been a dramatic change in the overall number of homeless people in the city, the amount of people living outside has gone up by 24% from 2009 to 447 people. 3,970 were estimated to be living out of city-administered shelters. 356 resided at Violence Against Women shelters. 236 were in health and treatment facilities, and 210 were in correctional facilities.

The duration of homelessness depended largely on where they resided, but averaged at about 3 years.

The majority of those surveyed, 93%, said they want permanent housing and 48.7% are on waiting lists for government subsidized houses.

Read the full report HERE.

Partners for Access and Identification (PAID) helps vulnerable people get identification so they can gain access to basic services and find employment. The PAID clinic is at Rexdale Legal every Thursday afternoon. For more details click HERE.

SOMALI COMMUNITY CONDEMNS DIXON ROAD RAIDS

Press Conference

After meeting and preparing statements last night, members of the Rexdale Community, largely members of the Somali community affected by the raids conducted by Toronto Police Services and police from across Southern Ontario on Dixion Road last Thursday, held a press conference at the Rexdale Community Hub today to condemn police actions during the raids.

“Community members are angered by the destruction of property and disrespectful remarks made by some officers and the police brutality that they were subject to,” said Mahad Yusuf, executive director of Midaynta Community Services.

“The community has been further stigmatized by the careless actions of some officers involved in the raid, and the irresponsible conduct of Toronto’s disgraced mayor,” Margaret Parsons said. Parsons also made the allegation that the police choice to target the Dixon community was based on recent media attention connecting Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to residences suspected to be bases in Rexdale’s drug trade, and the now infamous video which allegedly shows Rob Ford smoking from a glass pipe, although the video’s existence has still yet to be proven. Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair had disclosed previously that investigators had herd subjects of their investigations discussing the video several weeks ago over wire-taps that had been in place for nearly a year.

Dixon residents in attendance accused police of kicking down doors at random, carrying out unlawful assaults of building residents not subject to arrest warrants, carrying out unlawful arrests without warrants, uttering racial slurs, and needlessly destroying property.

However, not all Somali residents were in agreement with the panel. Margaret Parsons’ call for residents to thank the leaders of the Somali community prompted one woman in attendance to vocalize her distrust of Somali leaders, urging those in attendance to ‘recognize and address the corruption within the Somali community’. This created a huge uproar among those in attendance with many of them calling for the woman to be removed from the public gathering.

Mike McCormack, President of the Toronto Police Association,  stated in a televised interview following the press conference that the police take all allegations of misconduct seriously, but that many of the residents were ‘victims of their own families’, asserting that drug traffickers intentionally resided with family members to shield them from police investigations. McCormack went on to say that the community at large ‘thinks we did a good job’.

Toronto Police Services 23rd Division’s Community Relations Officer, Constable Parm Rai, could not be reached for comment.

As a result of Project Traveller 44 arrests were made, 224 charges laid, 40 weapons seized, $500,000 in cash and an estimated $3,000,000 (street value) in narcotics. How much of those arrests and seizures took place on Dixon Road is unclear, with raids being conducted on nearby residences on Mercury Road, and at least eight of those arrested being residents of the City of Windsor.

The African Canadian Legal Clinic, after meeting with members of the community, Somali community services agencies, and the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic, prepared this press release prior to today’s conference:

AFRICAN CANADIAN LEGAL CLINIC
PRESS RELEASE:
SOMALI COMMUNITY CONDEMNS DIXON ROAD RAIDS
Toronto: June 17, 2013

At 3:00 a.m. on June 13, 2013, units located at 320, 330, 340, 380, and 390 Dixon Road were raided by Toronto Police, as part of a police investigation dubbed “Project Traveller”. “In the aftermath of the raids, many community members feel victimized, vilified and traumatized as a result of the reckless manner in which officers forcibly entered their homes. Community members are angered by the destruction of property and disrespectful remarks made by some officers and the police brutality that they were subject to,” says Mahad Yusuf, Executive Director of Midaynta Community Services.

While the raids were intended to target criminal elements in the Dixon community, the actions of the TPS labeled and profiled the entire Somali community on Dixon Road as possible criminal elements. “This is particularly hurtful to a community already reeling from systemic barriers to services due to the combined impact of anti-Black racism, and Islamophobia. The community has been further stigmatized by the careless actions of some officers involved in the raid, and the irresponsible conduct of Toronto’s disgraced Mayor,” stated Margaret Parsons, Executive Director of the African Canadian Legal Clinic.

Residents shared stories about the raid with community leaders at a Town Hall meeting held at 320 Dixon Road on June 15, 2013. “Instead of providing additional resources, or hiring trauma counselors from within the community to heal the collective wounds caused by the raid, an increased level of policing has been deployed in the community. This only serves to further perpetuate fear in an already victimized and traumatized community,” says Yusuf.

At the community meeting several disheartening stories were shared. In one horrifying example, a 100 year old community Elder was so shocked by the raid on her unit she fell to the ground and was not assisted by officers. Her daughter, who is also a senior citizen, was cuffed, pushed to the ground and kicked by officers while her pleas for water to control her high blood pressure were ignored. Another 65 year old woman, who recently immigrated to Canada just 3 months ago, was also cuffed. Children as young as 10 years old woke up to guns pointed at their heads. “All of this has caused near irreparable damage to community police relations and has entrenched the feelings of indignity amongst residents,” says Yusuf.

In July 2012 the African Canadian Community responded to the Danzig Street and Eaton Centre shooting by calling for sustainable funding to the African Canadian community for social development programs. “Rather than heeding the call made by community leaders and organizations, the response has been further criminalization and racial profiling of our community. Clearly, nothing has changed,” said Parsons.

For further information contact:

Mahad Yusuf, Executive Director
Midaynta Community Services
(E): mahad@midaynta.com
(T): 416-544-1992 Ext. 229
(C): 416-702-8056
Roger Love, BA., J.D. Advice Counsel
African Canadian Legal Clinic
(E): lovero@lao.on.ca
(T): 416-214-4747 Ext. 25
(C): 647-294-1583

18 KINO STREET EAST, SWTE 901, T0RONTO, ONTARIO M5C1C4 TEL: (416) 214-4747 FAX: (416) 214-4748

Somali Canadians…
Fact Sheet

Canada has one of the largest Somali populations in the western world, with the census reporting 37,785 people claiming Somali descent, though unofficial estimates place the figure as high as 150,000. Somalis tend to be concentrated in the southern part of the province of Ontario, especially the Ottawa and Toronto areas. The Albertan cities of Calgary and Edmonton have also seen a significant increase in their respective Somali communities over the past five years. In addition, the neighborhood of Rexdale in Toronto has one of the largest Somali populations in the country. In the early 1990s, Canada saw an increase in the total number of Somali immigrants entering the country, with some secondary migration from the United States.

As with many other immigrant groups in the Toronto area, Somalis have faced some barriers to employment despite counting many qualified professionals; This has been attributed to enclave economies, self-employment, language unfamiliarity, and various public policies and social programs.

The Drop out Rate
•        The Toronto District School Board Grade 9 cohort study looking at Fall 2000 students found that the highest dropout rates (according to student 9 language) were Portuguese, Spanish and Somali speaking students.
•        Somali community has a 36.7% drop out rate which is the second highest in Toronto

Criminal Justice
•        Generation 1.5 – are the second generation Somali youth who came to Canada at a young age
•        Because of the various forms of discrimination faced by their parents, Somali second generation youth have difficulties integrating into Canadian society
•        High Unemployment Rate: Even with high school diploma or university degree, Somali males were unemployed (Gariba, 2009)
•        Unemployment is significant barrier for young Somali community, as a result, many Somalis migrated west
•        Unfortunately, a result, over 59 Somali male5 who moved to Edmonton for employment opportunities have died
•        This puts the homicide rate in the Edmonton Somali community higher than the national homicide rates in high-risk countries like Panama, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.

Social Housing: The issues
•        10 year wait list for affordable housing. Affordability: families spend 50% or more of income on rent.
•        Overcrowding: small spaces housing 6 people
•        TCH property aging and in deplorable condition, while the landscape outside is poorly maintained and offers no space to socialize.

“When you live in a bad neighborhood, not even the advantages of family, intellect, and ambition can protect you from the violence that threatens your community.”

Unemployment

Parents
•        Long-term implication of the initial settlement experience.
•        English proficiency a deterrent.
•        Lack of affordable child care Foreign skills hard to get accredited.

Youth
•        Over 80% of the Somali-Canadian community is under 30.
•        Negative perception oft he community.
•        Institutionalized discrimination based on name or address.
•        Unemployment rate hovers at 70 % in Toronto alone.
•        Lack of opportunity = Endemic disenfranchisement
•        No networks/human capital to tap in.

For more information please contact:
Amina Noor
Somali Youth outreach Worker
Midaynta Community Services
(416) 544-1992 or anoormidaynta.com

External links:

http://www.680news.com/2013/06/18/somali-canadian-community-condemns-project-traveller-raids/
http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/members-of-toronto-s-somali-community-speak-out-against-raids-1.1330664/
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/06/18/toronto_somalis_say_they_were_victimized_by_police_in_dixon_road_raids.html