Meeting between London, Ont. city officials and ‘The Forgotten 519’ continue Friday

Memorial crosses sit just outside London, Ont., City Hall where members of #TheForgotten519 launched a hunger strike on Tuesday, Aug. 2. Andrew Graham/980 CFPL

Talks between London, Ont., city officials and groups advocating for Londoners experiencing homelessness will resume Friday morning after discussions went late into Thursday evening.

Read more: City officials meeting with ‘The Forgotten 519’ on Thursday as hunger strike continues

The first of two scheduled meetings began Thursday afternoon, after an organizing member of #TheForgotten519 group, Dan Oudshoorn, began a hunger strike on the steps of city hall Tuesday.

“For the duration I will only drink water, with electrolyte drops added and contains medication with no nutritional value as prescribed to me by a physician,” Oudshoorn said in a statement on Tuesday. “I will not break my strike until the other organizing committee members of #TheForgotten519 are satisfied that life-saving changes we have demanded have been implemented.”

The group had demanded that the city:

  • Halt the removal of encampments, tents, campsites or squats in parks, along the Thames Valley Parkway, and in empty city lots.
  • Change the role of the city’s Coordinated Informed Response (CIR) team “from a displacement model, to a team that offers meaningful support … to campers at their campsites.”
  • Create two indoor spaces providing round-the-clock, seven-day support to those deprived of housing and shelter or in need of a safe place.

Read more: Homelessness advocacy group launches hunger strike at London City Hall

In a Tweet posted Friday morning, #TheForgotten519 said it’s returning to the table with a long day of discussions planned.

Patti McKague, director of strategic communications and government relations for the city, said in a statement to Global News that “a lot of work has been done through the afternoon [Thursday] and it will continue. We’re encouraged by the collective willingness to identify solutions.”

Stay tuned for more updates.

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