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Keeping Six

NewsletterK6 & HAMSMaRT Weekly Newsletter no. 26

K6 & HAMSMaRT Weekly Newsletter no. 26

October 5, 2020

Dear HAMSMaRT and Keeping Six Supporters,

Our newsletter has been quiet of late, but a major update this week.  Read the bolded sentences below to get the main points.

You will likely have heard that last week Keeping Six and HAMSMaRT reached an agreement with the City of Hamilton that will see a new, individualized and discretionary approach to enforcing the no camping by law.  The agreement will also see the injunction, which prevented the City of Hamilton from displacing or dismantling any encampments, lifted. It also sets parameters around where and how big encampments can be.  Finally, it calls on all parties to continue to advocate for increased provincial funding for the supports so many need to stay housed.  You can read the joint statement on the agreement here. You can also listen to K6’s Lisa Nussey, discuss the agreement and what it means to our city here.

The lifting of the injunction will mean that the high profile and large encampments on Ferguson Ave North and outside of the FirstOntario Centre will be removed and people will need to find new places to be. In the coming weeks all of our energy will go to helping the people living in those encampments move with dignity and support.  We and others are currently working with the City to ensure access to hotel, shelter and housing, as well as storage and transportation. We will work closely with those who won’t be able to access indoor spaces to ensure that the new protocol is understood and that people are supported and connected to resources of their choosing.

We are relieved to be moving away from legal battles to redouble and refocus our efforts on directly working with people experiencing homelessness and those who use drugs.  We are proud to have negotiated a resolution to this stand off which acknowledges that there are people in tents who have nowhere else to go.  We also feel that the injunction has garnered new conversation and action around homelessness in our city and are honoured to have played a role in that.  At the same time, we know that this agreement is not a perfect resolution; negotiation by its nature demands concession, and it will not diminish the housing crisis. In the coming weeks and months we will be taking time to reflect on the work of the past months, what worked, what didn’t, and how we can continue to move the needle on a housing-for-all agenda.  We are grateful to all of those who have and continue to support our work. Stay tuned for information on community report back and engagement events. 

Just as tensions dissipate between our organizations and the City of Hamilton, they are ramping up against community organizations, residents and activists, like Cameron Kroetsch. We believe that an engaged community is a healthier community. As organizations that take their lead from people with lived experience, we know first hand the value of institutions like the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion. On September 30, HCCI launched this gorgeous video which speaks to the vibrancy created when people at the base are engaged, listened to, and respected. Thank you HCCI for your continued work to “mobilize all Hamiltonians to create an inclusive and welcoming city.”

Since our last newsletter there have been more arrests at 1492 Landback Lane.  We join in the calls for an end of  the criminalization of land defenders and for all levels of government to  resolve this dispute in a manner that respects the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples and their rights to their lands.  1492 Landback Lane is calling for a  national day of action Friday October 9 to oppose the criminalization of land defenders. There will be a Rally to Support Six Nations Land Defenders at 1492 Land Back Lane at Queen’s Park.

There are just a few spots left on the October volunteer sign up schedule. In response to hearing from people on the ground that there is a lack of weekend service, we have successfully transitioned to a Saturday and Sunday outreach schedule. Sign up to join our outreach team, 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 volunteer@keepingsix.org if you haven’t received it. If you are not already registered as a volunteer and want to join the volunteer crew sign up here https://keepingsix.org/volunteer.

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE THIS WEEK:

DONATE TO HAMILTON CENTRE FOR CIVIC INCLUSION via their website at hcci.ca

DONATE TO FUND REPAIRS TO KANYENKEHAKA KANONHSES via GoFundMe

DONATE TO THE SIX NATIONS LAND DEFENDERS via e-transfer to landback6nations@gmail.com

ASK THE INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS you are affiliated with what they are doing to move beyond land acknowledgements and support the Six Nations land defenders at 1492 Land Back Lane

VOLUNTEER to decorate brown paper bags for outreach lunches, bake sweet treats, or go on outreach, by signing up here.

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

In solidarity,

Organizers from Keeping Six and HAMSMaRT

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.