FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

#DearLaureen Harper,

​Citizens for Social Justice would like to thank you for taking the time to visit the City of Oshawa and recognizing the plight of homeless youth in our community. While you’re in town to attend a fundraiser for The Refuge, a homeless youth drop-in centre, we’d like to offer some practical policy proposals to combat poverty and homelessness.
​We’ve been told you are bringing a couple of neck-ties belonging to your husband and Minister Baird for auction at the fundraiser. With skyrocketing youth unemployment, good jobs leaving our community, and a lack of youth shelters and affordable housing, we think it’s going to take more than a couple of neck-ties to address the problems of youth poverty and homelessness.
​In return for the neck-ties, we’d like to offer you some practical poverty reduction strategies to bring back to Ottawa:
1) Create a comprehensive national housing strategy to bring good, affordable housing to our community;
2) Ensure all homeless youth have access to social services regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender;
3) Increase funding for addiction and mental health services;
4) Implement a job creation strategy to bring back good paying jobs to our community; and
5) Re-open the Youth Employment Centres that were recently cut in the federal budget.
Again, we’d like to thank you for recognizing the need to address youth homelessness in our community. Now, it’s time for this government to make poverty reduction and youth homelessness a priority through social policy at the federal level. We need less neck-ties and more action.

Sincerely,
Citizens for Social Justice:

For Labour and community groups:

We want to initiate a twitter/Facebook campaign to coincide with this press release. We would like to use the hashtag #DearLaureen and use it to offer poverty reduction solutions one tweet at a time. Please spread this widely to your network of social justice, labour, and poverty reduction activists and ask them to post a tweet with the hashtag “#DearLaureen”!
Here are some examples:
#DearLaureen, while neck-ties are nice a National Housing Strategy would be better.
#DearLaureen, neck-ties may raise some money but re-opening Youth Employment Centres reduces youth poverty.
#DearLaureen, neck-ties don’t put youth to work or create jobs.
#DearLaureen, tell Steve to keep the neck-tie – our community needs mental health and addiction counselling.
#DearLaureen, please ask your husband to create a REAL job creation strategy!