Community Projects and Advocacy:
I've been very fortunate to have been involved with some really great projects, community groups and organizations over the years. Here are some of the things I am, and have been working on. Check them out!
Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust
Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust is a non-profit land trust led by members of the Parkdale community in Toronto and works to protect the social, cultural and ecomonic diversity of the neighbourhood by redefining how land is owned, used, and developed. The land trust owns land and ensures it is used to meet the needs of the community, as decided by the community. Read the report, "Fixing the Leaky Bucket: A Comprehensive Policy & Program Framework to Preserve Toronto's Supply of Deeply Affordable Housing," which I wrote as the lead of PNLT's Dwelling Room Preservation Policy initiative.
Toronto Drop-In Network
The Toronto Drop-In Network (TDIN) is a coalition of over 50 drop-in centres in the City of Toronto, (organizations that work with people who are homeless, marginally housed or socially isolated to provide participants with a safe space, sense of community, and the ability to meet their basic physical, social, personal and health needs. TDIN aims to support its members with resources, advocacy, and training.
Read about TDIN's Restaurant Meal Voucher Program, an initiative that I got funded and helped to launch.
Housing Action Now
Housing Action Now is a non-partisan coalition of Toronto residents and organizations including seniors' groups, housing organizations, legal clinics, human rights organizations, child welfare services, faith groups, neighbourhood services, and tenant organizations. Together we advocate for policies, programs and services that will reduce homelessness and create affordable housing solutions. At the moment, Housing Action Now only exists as a Facebook group; a space for sharing news, information, resources, events and advocacy opportunities.
Cycle Toronto Ward Advocacy
The Cycle Toronto Ward 19 advocacy group worked to improve cycling conditions in Toronto, and in Ward 19 in particular. View the things we accomplished and the things we were working on here. Then the city ward boundaries changed. The new ward group, Ward 9 is here.
The Wellesley Institute
The Wellesley Institute is a Toronto-based non-profit and non-partisan research and policy institute. It focuses on developing research, policy and community mobilization to advance population health and reduce health inequities.
Inactive groups and projects:
BlockSidewalk was a grassroots movement of Torontonians fighting to stop Sidewalk Toronto (a partnership of Sidewalk Labs, a Google subsidiary, and Waterfront Toronto, a public corporation tasked with developing Toronto's waterfront) and with it, Big Tech's attempted subversion of the rights of residents and democratic governance in the city through the seizure of a piece of public land on the waterfront the size of downtown Toronto. The movement was ultimately successful: in 2020, Sidewalk Labs pulled out of the Sidewalk Toronto project, forcing Waterfront Toronto to "reset" the project, as BlockSidewalk had been demanding.
The West End Food Co-op
The West End Food Co-op was a multi-stakeholder, not-for-profit co-operative that aimed to provide viable food security initiatives that were specific to the needs of west end communities. It generated funds by selling community bonds (the first community bond program in Toronto) and operated a community food hub, store and the Sorauren Farmers' Market, which is now an independent non-profit organization. Read about the co-op's Co-op Cred program, which I helped develop while on the WEFC Board.
The Recession Relief Coalition
The Recession Relief Coalition was formed as an emergency response to the 2008 recession. It was anticipated that the need for social services would rise sharply as a result of the recession, and at the same time, funding for those services would plummet as governments struggled to manage declining revenues and individuals and corporations cut back on their charitable giving. The coalition advocated for income security (first, a Recession Relief Fund, and then other measures), housing security, food security, and better conditions for unhoused people in the city.