Over the holidays and throughout this month, I have been in contact with City Staff from the Shelter, Support, and Housing Administration Division and have continued to urge them to find permanent housing or create shelter spaces for those living in encampments in Allan Gardens. We find ourselves in the coldest time of the year, and I continue to prioritize outreach to unhoused individuals.
Since the start of my term, the number of encampments has been steadily decreasing. From a total of 39 tents and 30 individuals in the park to currently having 27 tents and 11 individuals. This is very encouraging and we continue to work hard to house people.
The majority of the individuals in Allan Gardens continue to collaborate with City Staff, and many have scheduled unit viewings and moved into permanent housing. There remain 5 individuals in Allan Gardens who have declined all available housing and shelter services. I understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for those experiencing homelessness. Still, I recognize that it is unsafe to stay outside in the cold. Residents in and around Allan Gardens have stated they are feeling increasingly unsafe with the number of encampment structures in Allan Gardens as they also exacerbate the pedestrian safety issues caused by the ongoing construction. In my last update, I stated that public parks cannot address the need for safe, indoor accommodations and I continue to stand by that statement. I hope that individuals who have declined all available services will work together with us toward an appropriate and reasonable solution.
I’d like to commend and thank City Staff for their hard work in outreach and securing housing for all individuals experiencing homelessness and hope that those unhoused will become responsive to their ongoing efforts.
Yours in service,
Ward 13 - Toronto Centre