Teri Bell Arts' Cat Castle

On February 22, 2022, an Ontario woman with disabling Multiple Chemical Sensitivity - MCS was granted Medical Assistance in Dying - MAiD, because accessible housing doesn't exist.

To be crystal clear: on the same day the Ontario government announced that license plate fees would be cancelled, and reimbursed to March 2020 - a disabled woman was exterminated by the state, due to the government mandated poverty that perpetuates the accessible housing crisis.  You can read more here  https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/woman-with-chemical-sensitivities-chose-medically-assisted-death-after-failed-bid-to-get-better-housing-1.5860579 

If you do nothing else, if you read no further, if you never consider the accessible housing crisis after this moment in time,
we are asking you to please stop and sign this letter: https://aseq-ehaq.ca/en/housing-for-mcs/ 
And if you're fortunate enough to have received a rebate for license plate fees, we strongly urge you to consider donating it to this Accessible Housing First campaign, or ANY actions that prioritize the survival of disabled people! The government clearly won't but you can choose to act humanely with the tax dollars

We have lived through the same global pandemic.
We have experienced the same explosive rates of inflation.
Social assistance rates have not been adjusted since autumn 2018, when the shelter allotment was raised $8, to $497/month, and the basic needs rate was raised $10, to $672; a whopping increase of $18 dollars per month, to a grand total of  $1169 (for those "lucky" enough to have been able to satisfy the requirements of the Ontario Disability Support Program - many disabled people are trapped on general assistance at a rate of $390 shelter + $343 basic needs = $733/month total)... disabled people are "choosing" euthanasia rather than continue to starve to death slowly, or live in untenable situations - these rates and programs are similar across the country, but the only part of it that's interconnected is the "right" to a lethal injection as disabled people, taxpayer-funded of course... Is this a genuine choice if accessible housing doesn't even exist? How can we clearly articulate that #AccessibleHousingFIRST could have saved her life?

This is precisely what the disabled community and other human rights advocates tried to warn of, regarding Bill C7.
The UN Special Rapporteur/s were equally firm and dire in their feedback on the act that became law last year (on the 10th anniversary of Canada signing the Convention on The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities - CRPD treaty) ~ you can read it here: https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=26002 
The precedent has been set here, and everything we have been fighting against has come to pass, please sign and share the letter: https://aseq-ehaq.ca/en/housing-for-mcs/  - regardless of location, please leave the postal code blank if you're outside of Canada.


And now back to our regularly scheduled "How dare you artists use art & creativity to create solutions to the accessible housing crisis that nobody wants to acknowledge?!?"

Thank you so much for the support!

-original text follows:

We talked to a few thousand cats, to try to establish a consensus on the precise definition of a “Cat Castle”.

None of them could agree on the type and size of cardboard box that qualifies as a castle. There was unanimous agreement that the cats can live with the people, while the people cannot live with the cats in the cardboard boxes. They were also in agreement that they’re not doing the dishes (“like ever” was the direct quote), so they need some people around for that. 

Did you know: more than half of the pictures (on a popular database of open source/Creative Commons images) for the search term “homeless” are… pictures of cats?

Did you know that disabled people (with accessible housing) can rescue cats too? (And dogs allegedly, but we don’t know because we’re all cat people, even though half of us are allergic to cats)

Did you know that accessibility can be really expensive; the internet search engines suggest an average of $100,000 to modify a single home to make it accessible - a single ramp or stair lift is about $10,000, so that checks out… just to get in the building.

infoGraphic:  roof raising goal $222,222 - 5% processing fees $11,111  = $211,111 - sales tax 0-13%  $0-28,888 (range $182,223-211,111) averaged  = $196,000 = $98,000  surprise makers  + $98,000 Accessibility renovations *STRETCH GOAL, just add a 'zero' to each row

Did you know that (in Ontario) a disabled person in receipt of disability assistance (predominantly renters) receives up to $497/month ($5964/year) for shelter allowance? 
And that disabled Ontarians in receipt of general social assistance receive up to $390/month ($4680/year) in shelter assistance? 
And that this is more or less the same across the country?

On a related note, did you know there’s an accessible housing crisis, and that it’s particularly heinous for people who are disabled by Environmental Health conditions, like Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)?

Did you know there is only one purpose-built social housing project in the entire country (with 7 apartments and a 10 year waiting list) that’s accessible for people with (mild) MCS? 
And there are a million Canadians diagnosed with MCS (as of 2016)? 
And that this is a global problem?

Teri Bell Arts for a good cause  is bringing many artists together to solve this housing crisis - and you can help by getting a Surprise In The Mail! #ArtSavesLives

We chose to launch this Cat Castle campaign today, on International Human Rights Day…
Because housing is a human right... on paper. 
Because the hashtag #WhyUs is trending. 
Because a second round of “Shelter In Place“ still takes for granted having a place to shelter or age in.
Because #AccessibleHousingFIRST cannot wait another decade... but it’s still not on anyone’s radar yet.

So… let’s do this!!

You get a surprise in the mail - an artist gets paid for their work - the rest goes toward the development of our preliminary accessible social housing project. Win, win, win! 

What else can we tell you:

~ The Surprises In The Mail range from practical objects d’art to delightfully absurd jokes - or if you prefer wholesome adult humour you can request an NSFW Surprise In The Mail (may contain colourful language or themes but it’s all in good fun, nothing graphic!) 
~ Most of Teri Bell Arts ’ crew are disabled people #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs!
~ Some of our participating artists are donating their creations or services, but generally: half goes to the artists and half goes to Accessibility Renovations 
~ Some artists are managing the shipping of their own artwork, or offering exclusive services or courses, signed prints or birthday greetings and the like. If you came here via #FridayFanClub referral be sure to indicate which artist you want to support. If you don’t choose a preferred artist, the default Fan Club surprise will be a gift certificate from our partner Psychic Arts  (18+, for entertainment only). We are working with many artists in a really broad range of mediums... but if someone claims to be Lady Gaga or Elton John, offering a perk on our Cat Castle campaign: We promise we’d tell you about that if it was the case. But if you do happen to know them, pass this campaign along!
~ This Cat Castle  campaign, and Teri Bell Arts ' #FridayFanClub on Call An Artist , are the only places that our accomplice artists should send you for payment. We are not accepting any other electronic transfers or cash payments for #SurpriseInTheMail please. 
~ We ship internationally via Canada Post (or via USPS from our American artists). Don't forget to include your mail or email address!
~ Our preliminary social housing project is being planned for Ontario, Canada. We’re developing a transformational accessible live-work project (rent geared to income, not to generate profit - except for the landlord/bank who owns the property) that will accommodate 5-10 people.
The stretch goal may involve the purchase of an appropriate Public Service zoned property or a much larger leased property, and accessibility renovations to accommodate 20-30 people. To protect the privacy of residents the final location/s may not be disclosed but we hope to share some of the practical details as it develops, so that others can use this information to scale and replicate these transformational housing model, too!
~ “Cat Castle” is an interdependent peer-led housing project. Some of the disability advocates we are consulting with on this social housing development include: Seriously Sensitive To Pollution (or on FB ), MCS Awareness Month , Wendys House , Memes For Inconvenient Disabilities , EnviroHOPE Environmental Health on Planet Earth  and others, as well as many disabled individuals with lived expertise, Housing Services Act housing providers/managers, and tenants rights/poverty rights advocates. As well as observing the AODA/OHRC/CHRC, public health/OBC, and other legislation and applicable bylaws.
~ Teri Bell Arts  is an eco-arts social enterprise - we do good works that are usually left to charitable whims, collectively, and we pay applicable sales (and other) taxes. If you’d rather that your “surprise in the mail” is a tax receipt for a charitable donation we strongly urge you to consider Environmental Defence Canada  for your charitable giving  - and please stay tuned to Teri Bell Arts : our long-term aim is a land trust!

p.s. Did you know that there are also no long-term care (or general healthcare) facilities that are accessible to people with severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivities MCS?

Did you know Environmental Health conditions are "medically related" and include Myalgic Encephalomyelitis ME Chronic Fatigue Syndrome CFS, and Fibromyalgia FM , and Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS , and Lyme Disease?
You can learn more about Environmental Health  from the Ontario Ministry of Health Task Force on Environmental Health  or the Environmental Health Clinic at Womens College Hospital , and the costed business proposal for the Ontario Centre For Excellence in Environmental Health ,  - we’ll add more resources throughout the campaign but the hashtag #MCSfacts  (on FB) is a great resource to get you started!

text: "Why can't we have fun and improve the world? I think we can do both!" Teri Bell Arts  - for a good cause @teribellarts

How you can help us build a castle... fit for cats:

* Support the campaign financially and get a Surprise In The Mail! The suggestion donation is $25, but whether you can afford $5 or $500, all contributions are incredibly meaningful and appreciated!
* Support a favourite artist participating in #FridayFanClub and receive their exclusive or individualized perks (each artist is offering different Artworks or services, you can collect them all!!)
* Try a mini reading from the Six Dollar Psychic  (brought to you by one of our partners Psychic Arts) - The Six Dollar Psychic events  are a great way to try their services before committing to a full reading or course! All proceeds of this project go to #AccessibleHousingFIRST (The artists are donating their services for the Six Dollar Psychic, please thank them by liking and following their pages - where you can find more info)
* If you don’t need a Surprise In The Mail, and you don’t want to send a Surprise In The Mail to a friend, and you don’t need a psychic reading just for funsies or a nice piece of art for your wall, but you really want to support #AccessibleHousingFIRST without having to invest a hundred grand to convert your basement into an affordable, accessible rental for a disabled person - you can Call An Artist  any time, to contribute $3 (or more - $3 USD/minute). All proceeds go to #AccessibleHousingFIRST and all of our general operators are people with disabilities!
* If you don’t want to wait for this campaign to be complete because you need a Surprise In The Mail RIGHT NOW: you can also Call An Artist  during the Teri Bell Arts ' #FridayFanClub (or catch a flash sale) event , to order a Surprise In The Mail or special offers from our participating Fan Club artists.
* If you’re an artist in Canada or USA who wants to support Cat Castle by participating in our #FridayFanClub, or donating a Surprise In The Mail, contact Teri Bell Arts  on FB to talk about teaming up 
* If you’re a disabled artist who’d like to apply to the interdependent artists’ residency in the future, stay tuned to Teri Bell Arts  on FB and get involved!
* Share this campaign, a lot! 
* Enjoy the Cat Castle Colouring Pages every day on Teri Bell Arts ’ - share those too - and share your lovely creations when you finish colouring them!
* Like and follow the FB page Teri Bell Arts  - for a good cause - where you can find all kinds of arts inspirations and prompts to get your creative juices flowing. Simply liking and interacting with posts will help us build Cat Castle! The team shares a lot of lovely art there, too, be sure to show the artists some love!
* Win free stuff in support of Cat Castle: here , here , here , here , and other places too!
* Choose #fragrancefree to help reduce pollution, and to make the world more accessible to disabled people (1 in 3 people experience adverse medical reactions from fragrance exposures, 1 in 10 experience disabling effects)!
* As Grace Lee Boggs said “The only way we survive is by taking care of each other” - sharing 100 times or commenting on 100 FB posts is EQUALLY important and helpful as ordering 1 or 100 Surprises In The Mail! What if it’s your uncle’s neighbour’s cousin’s sister-in-law who passes this campaign along to the Thiel Foundation who decides to invest in Housing As A Human Right and Medical Necessity, all because you shared on social media? That would be super cool, right?

We’re in this together and your support - whether it’s financial or sharing and getting involved on social media, or by gaining awareness of Environmental Health conditions (and going #FragranceFree) - is so appreciated. 

Thank you so much, from the whole team! Now let’s raise a roof!

A cat demanding snacks (on a clean plate) adorns a hundred dollar bill

Donations (22)

  • K. Mac
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Kathryn DeFrancesco
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Amy Calton
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Jennifer Pearson
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Peter Marrocco
    • $500 
    • 2 yrs


L MacIntosh
Peterborough, ON

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