Keeping Six

NewsletterK6 & HAMSMaRT Weekly Newsletter no. 23

K6 & HAMSMaRT Weekly Newsletter no. 23

September 1, 2020

Dear HAMSMaRT and Keeping Six Supporters:

We hope you are all doing well and enjoying the cooler weather! Read the bolded sentences below to get the main points from our weekly update.

The September volunteer sign up schedule is live! Sign up to go on outreach, bake, or decorate paper lunch bags. If you are a registered volunteer, you should have already received the sign up link – shoot us an email at if you haven’t received it.  If you are not already registered as a volunteer and want to join the volunteer crew for September, sign up here

We were disappointed that council voted 9-3 to forgo mediation and proceed directly to a court hearing for the injunction. We believe mediation would result in a reasonable resolution for all parties, including Hamiltonians who do not want their tax dollars spent on unnecessary litigation. More importantly however, we could reach a reasonable resolution for vulnerable residents within the encampments – the people who need our cooperation and assistance the most. We want to be crystal clear – we are not advocating for people to stay in tents; rather, we are asking the city not to clear encampments so that people can be supported to find a housing option that meets their needs. Dismantling encampments only serves to disrupt relationships with people, it does not address the issue of homelessness. People do not simply disappear when encampments are cleared. We have made one last overture to Council in hopes that they will reconsider and keep this out of the courts. We encourage concerned Hamiltonians to take 5 minutes today to call or email your city councillor about these urgent needs, and copy us and as well as the city clerk on all correspondence. See here for a fulsome timeline of events and a review of the ways that HAMSMaRT and Keeping Six have engaged with the City and other stakeholders to advance a public health and human rights based approach to encampments. Stay tuned for updates on this process.

We have figured out how to keep our street outreach operational until the end of 2020. Thanks to everyone who took the time to email us suggestions for funding. We are reflecting as a group on our actions to date, and considering how best to move forward.

Check out the Community Teach In: Why We Should Defund the Police at City Hall on Thursday September 3rd at 1 pm! HAMSMaRT and Keeping Six will be there, along with many other Hamilton groups who are committed to imagining a world without police and implementing alternatives to promote individual and community health. From the event page: “The Hamilton Police Board monthly meeting will be taking place this month on Thursday, September 3rd. This is where Chad Collin’s report on why a 20% reduction on the police budget is not possible will be released. On this day, we will be hosting a community teach-in in the foyer of City Hall to re-imagine community safety- a community without police. We will have conversations about what services in Hamilton we want to see funded. During this teach-in, we will hear lectures from academics on defunding the police, and we will host a community consultation, facilitate conversations on alternatives to policing, run activities, and MORE! This event is kid-friendly and all social distancing guidelines will be taken seriously. Food and Drinks will be provided.”

As we, a settler organisation, wrestle with the injunction process in defence of people’s autonomy, we call on everyone to read this statement about how injunctions are disproportionately used to dispossess Indigenous people of their sovereign rights. Please continue to follow the Six Nations land defenders.

Finally, yesterday was International Overdose Awareness Day. We have lost too many friends and neighbours here in Hamilton to overdose, thanks to a toxic illicit drug supply, stigma, and the criminalization of drugs. Awareness is not enough – we need action. We’re inspired by the amazing Overdose Prevention Line, operated by volunteers here in Hamilton and now available 24/7 to any Ontario resident. And check out this op-ed on safe supply written by one of our co-organizers, Dr Claire Bodkin.


DONATE TO FUND REPAIRS TO KANYENKEHAKA KANONHSES via GoFundMe – they are $6700 away from their goal!


CONTACT YOUR CITY COUNCILLOR AND THE MAYOR To ask them about what they are doing to support people who are homeless and people who use drugs, and request that they refrain from engaging in expensive and counterproductive litigation, and instead focus the city’s efforts on providing people with adequate water, shelter, food, and services. You can find contact info for your city councillor here.

VOLUNTEER to decorate brown paper bags for outreach lunches, bake sweet treats, go on outreach, shop for supplies, or help staff rest and hygiene stations, by signing up here.

DONATE CASH (or ask people in your network to donate) here.

DONATE LIKE-NEW/EXCELLENT CONDITION TENTS, SLEEPING BAGS, FLEECE BLANKETS, OR TARPS by emailing us Fleece blankets are a great project for sewers!

AMPLIFY our messages on twitter @HAMSMaRTeam and @keepingsix and by forwarding this email, so that decision makers LISTEN to people who are homeless and/or who use drugs about what they need right now.

EST. 2018

Keeping Six – Hamilton Harm Reduction Action League is a community-based organization that defends the rights, dignity, and humanity of people who use drugs.