During their annual Ontario School Boards Council of Unions (OSBCU) convention in the City of Roses last week, 300 frontline education workers from across the province contributed money to support Street Help Homeless Centre of Windsor.

Today, representatives of CUPE Locals 27, 1348, 1358, and 4299 – made up of frontline education workers from Greater Essex County District School Board, Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, and Conseil scolaire catholique Providence – presented a cheque for $3,000 to Street Help staff.

“This is an act of solidarity, not charity,” said Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s OSBCU. “We recognize the fight for housing security is the same as the fight for job security and good wages, and we commit to fighting for permanent solutions to these shared problems.”

“Frontline education workers earn an average of only $39,000 per year and we’re proud to support people experiencing homelessness with getting a place to live right away and fighting for the affordable housing they need,” Walton added. “Many CUPE education workers are also experiencing housing insecurity because we’re paid so little and housing is so expensive.”

CUPE members are calling on the Ford government to raise pay for education workers and all workers,” Walton said. “Our demand for better wages is a universal demand because everyone in Ontario should be able to afford to get groceries, and pay their bills, everyone deserves a decent job that doesn’t require them to work second or third jobs just to scrape by, and a good place to live should be a reality for everyone.”

Street Help is a drop-in centre operated by and for people experiencing homelessness that has been serving the Windsor-Essex County Region since 1995. Through cooking, cleaning, and offering support to their fellow homeless, Street Help staff develop genuine skills and experience to apply to their resumes. Its programs prove self-help can lead to self-sufficiency.