You can now buy these cool t-shirts to support tiny shelters in Toronto
The Toronto community has been rallying behind local carpenter Khaleel Seivwright ever since the city served him with an injunction demanding that he stop building and placing insulated tiny wooden shelters in parks last month, and now residents who wish to support his cause can purchase a cool t-shirt with his face on it.
Local photographer and filmmaker Leeanne Beck, who came up with the idea for the initiative, told blogTO that the city's actions have left Seivwright in a position where he is forced to obtain and pay for a legal team.
This fundraiser, she said, aims to cover Seivwright's legal fees as well as help fund the continued support of tiny shelters and encampment services.
The shirts were designed by prominent Toronto graffiti artist Anser and screen-printed by local custom print shop Paranoid Print Company, both of whom donated their time and skills in support of this cause.
They're available online for pre-order and will set you back $35, with all proceeds going directly to Seivwright's legal fees and encampment services.
Shipments of the shirts will be made on April 11, and they're available for a limited time only.
The shirts also will be provided to encampments residents free of charge.
Seivwright first started building his tiny shelters in the fall of 2020 when he noticed the growing need for warm, insulated structures as more and more people experiencing homelessness chose to take up residence outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
His doing so was technically illegal, however, and the city immediately threatened to take legal action against him.
But despite tens of thousands of residents calling for the structures to be allowed during a particularly difficult winter for those expericing homelessness in Toronto, the city, citing fire hazards presented by the structures, made good on their threat and served Seivwright with an injunction on Feb. 12.
Hundreds of people have since spoken out against the move, especially considering that the city's shelter system is often at or near capacity and there isn't nearly enough affordable housing to go around, and Seivwright himself has been pleading with the city to drop the injunction.
Yesterday, hundreds of people showed up to a rally and press conference at Alexandra Park in protest of the city's new "Pathway Inside" program, which aims to place all residents at four "priority" encampments in hotel shelters.
Homelessness advocates, however, say the program is really just a ploy to evict residents from the city's most prominent encampments, and those living in both Trinity Bellwoods and Alexandra Park have since been served with notices indicating that anti-camping bylaws will be enforced come April 6.
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