Catch da Flava Radio - Living with Disabilities in Canada and TCHC
This week we talked to Author and Public speaker A.J Withers about how disability and poverty are connected and how we can make a difference in our community by speaking out and standing up for the less fortunate and the disabled. A.J spoke with host Divine and co-host Omar about A.J’s event that was held on July 20th, 2017 at 40 Oak Street in Regent Park.
A.J talked about what they discussed during the event including the accessibility and availability of good quality community housing for the less fortunate and disabled in Regent Park. A.J also talked about the social problems in Regent Park for disabled people. Statistics Canada shows that people with mobility issues often live in substandard accommodation. Standard housing is affordable, requires little to no repairs, and is not overcrowded. Affordability is often the most common problem.
A.J also shared where we can find their book around Regent Park and Toronto.
A.J’s book covers most of the topics they talked about during the event. A.J has worked on this book since 2001 and they also had some of their friends help them create the book. They’ve had a lot of inspiration to create this book.
A.J holds these events once a month on every third Thursday of the month. A.J’s next event is on the 20th of September 2017. If you wish to learn more on this topic, check out their website: https://ocaptoronto.wordpress.com/
We thank A.J Withers for being part of our show and helping us learn about some of the disadvantages of living in Regent Park.
Following that segment on poverty, disability and discussing the challenges of living with those difficulties in Canada, Divine and Omar further discussed the difficulties of living in Toronto government housing and the way the system has treated community housing residents during the Regent Park Revitalization, as well as their personal experiences dealing with trying to get help with their homes.
In addition, they talked about the difficulty there is with underlying prejudice with the superintendents of some buildings. Divine mentioned one case in which a family of six people were warned with the possibility of being evicted despite there being homes in their building occupied by 10 or more people in a 3-4 bedroom unit.
They also talked about Regent Park’s silent policies about things that don’t particularly look “good,” such as bicycles being removed from parking spaces under the assumption of them being abandoned when they just seemed old or weren’t as nice looking, as well as another case in which Divine’s family wasn’t allowed to park their car outside their home with the excuse that it was taking up space while others were allowed to because other cars in the neighbourhood appeared newer and deemed more presentable.
Later on, Nicholas joined them to talk about his understanding of the Regent Park Revitalization and discuss his perspective as a non-resident, and inquired about methods of contacting someone in the Toronto Community Housing Centre (TCHC) to try and find potential solutions. While Divine and Omar explained that it’s unfortunately not simple, they took into consideration how it’s been a lot better than before in terms of communication, with there being initiatives from the TCHC with open panels in which residents can speak to officials and representatives directly, including questions and inquiries or giving possible suggestions that would best help the community.
Big thanks to Nicholas Ramsubick for coming on air to speak about these issues and his thoughts, and we hope this has been a good learning experience to everyone who joined in and listened to the conversation.