Over the last month, I have met with City Staff from the Shelter, Support, and Housing Administration Division and have urged them to find housing and create shelter spaces for those living in encampments in Allan Gardens.
Local residents and the local church who have been supporting the homeless in our community made it clear during the election that moving the folks living in the encampments needed to be one of my top priorities when I took office, something I committed to and am determined to accomplish.
When I met with City Staff, I presented several options that they should explore, including opening additional spaces at Seaton House, working with Toronto Community Housing to open vacant units in Regent Park Phases 4 and 5 as what was done for residents from Swansea Mews, and acquiring additional spaces across the City.
Since November 15, City Staff have successfully moved 11 people to housing, 10 others have been matched to housing, and 13 people are actively working on getting their ID, income supports and other paperwork in order. However, one concerning development is that there are 10 people who have declined all permanent housing and shelter services. Despite this, I will continue to work with City Staff and the Mayor’s office to do our best to ensure all individuals are safely housed while doing our best to avoid the need for police presence.
I believe that parks such as Allan Gardens are for everyone’s enjoyment, and also recognize that with the incoming winter weather, it is increasingly unsafe for the most vulnerable in our community to be left unsupported in these conditions. Parks cannot address the need for safe, indoor accommodations, whether temporary or permanent.
I will be supporting the bold housing plan being presented at City Council this week. We must continue to tackle our homelessness crisis at its root by addressing the lack of housing, one of the main social determinants of health, with determination and tenacity.
All Saints Homes Fire
My heart goes out to everyone affected by Monday night's terrible fire at All Saints Residence at Dundas and Sherbourne.
Fire affects people, families, and communities like few other tragedies. Our homes, our belongings, and even our lives can be cruelly and abruptly taken away. This emergency has taken the life of one of our neighbours and injured several others. It has been and continues to be a traumatizing experience for their friends, family, and many in the community.
As your city councillor, my staff and I express our deepest condolences and stand ready to help anyone affected access any City of Toronto supports and services they need. We are in contact with the Office of Emergency Management and All Saints Church-Community Centre staff.
I would encourage you to please support our neighbours by donating to the All Saints Emergency Relief Fund. Share this link on with your networks and on social media: https://www.gofundme.com/f/emergency-relief-for-the-all-saints-toronto-fire
Yours in service,
Ward 13 - Toronto Centre