May 16th, 2022
On May 2, 2022, community members of the Milton-Parc neighbourhood took action against a fence that had been erected to keep people who are homeless out of a vacant lot. We support the permanent removal of this fence and the empty lot’s restoration as a community space.
The steel fence at the intersection of Milton Ave and Parc Ave was erected by Goldmanco Inc., a large real estate company.
Most people in the homeless community rightfully blame Goldmanco Inc. for taking their space and endangering their lives with a fence that pushed them further into the street. One person was hit by traffic shortly after the fence went up. A CTV News report from August 6, 2020, reads
Last week, [Kitty] Kakkinerk was at the lot, as usual, and witnesses have described how the fence played a role in the car crash that killed her.
Friends say Kakkinerk was running from an abusive partner that night—literally running—and, trapped by the fence, she ran outwards into the street, where she was struck by a truck and killed.
Her brother watched her die, the friends have said.
On July 18, 2021, Goldmanco Inc. erected a second fence around their empty lot. This fence blocked off the remainder of the parking lot where people used to sit. This final act forced people onto sidewalks and stoops of neighbouring businesses.
This dispossessesion of Indigenous people from their communal space is a violent reminder of Canada’s vicious and murderous colonial history. Without land (among other resources), people who are Indigenous in Milton-Parc keep their noticeable second-class status.
A small but vocal group of people in this neighbourhood have adopted a NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) perspective on homelessness. The “Collectif des resident.es de Milton-Parc,” is one such group. Members of the Collectif have continually supported policies and actions that would harm people who are homeless, such as: relocating shelters and other support services, greater police presence, and supporting the erection of the fence. They have also engaged in disgraceful attacks on community workers helping the homeless, including defamation, calls to the police, and attempts at public shaming.
The city government has allowed landlords and developers to create a housing crisis. Rents are rising at an increasing pace. An abundance of empty and semi-abandoned property is emerging. In the interest of the accumulation of wealth, tenants and people who live on the street can speak less and less of their access to the fundamental right to housing even though there is enough space and housing for everyone.
People experiencing homelessness on the corner of Milton and Parc deserve the space they need to exist. They deserve food and shelter, they deserve compassion and human decency, and they deserve to be treated as part of our community.
The first step in improving community conditions for all is to support the permanent removal of the fence at Milton and Parc Ave, and the restoration of this vacant lot as a community space.
Signé en solidarité / Signed in solidarity,
Comité des Citoyen.ne.s de Milton Parc (CCMP)
Syndicat de Locataires Autonomes de Montréal (SLAM/MATU)
Montreal Solidarity Supply (MSS)
+ 100 Signatories
The Milton Parc Citizens’ Committee is a 50 year-old community organisation that manages a three storey community building, several gardening spaces and a food bank. It is devoted to collective autonomy and grassroots democracy.
The Montreal Autonomous Tenants’ Union is a direct action focused, direct democracy of tenants. The union has tenant councils in several Milton-Parc high and low rises.
Montreal Solidarity Supply is a mutual aid network which performs a weekly freestore distribution, primarily servicing people who are homeless at the Milton and Parc intersection.