Residents Concerned Over Toronto Shelters

By Ben Hamill - August 27 2020

Residents Concerned Over Toronto Shelters

The Toronto residents voicing ongoing concerns over incidents and altercations experienced alongside and with those living in shelters for the homeless, say they’re more upset by a lack of consultation and mental health support regarding and offered to the city’s destitute than what they are with the actual people living in the city-provided accommodation.

One such place apparently now a particularly worrying thorn in the side of local residents is the Strathcona Hotel, which is situated on University Ave. in downtown Toronto. Recently turned temporary shelter for the city’s homeless, the hotel has been a bone of contention for the residents of a nearby condominium. Shelter residents urinating on the condominium’s flower beds is reportedly now a daily problem. Not to mention even residents regularly finding dirty needles on and around the property. Being verbally and even physically attacked by shelter residents are apparently not uncommon incidents either.

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Police Attest To Problems

Strathcona resident Michael Andrew Smith is but one of the many homeless now living in the temporary shelter provided by the city on April 10. He considers himself to be simply another member of the community – only without a permanent roof over his head.

Smith says he can only hope that the home-owning community has compassion for his situation and understands the desperate need for the provision of temporary shelter and accommodation.

But Smith’s is seemingly a lone voice in the wilderness of good order, as local police are telling a different story than the one proposed by many of the city’s homeless. Since the hotel in early April became a shelter for those living on the streets, police say they’ve responded to an average of nearly 70 more incidents at the hotel and surrounds than what had been the case between the months of February and April of this year.

And the Strathcona Hotel is but one of 30 more shelter sites newly opened since around the middle of March.

Not A Public Decision

The city has responded to concerns raised by local home-owners and paying tenants by saying that the decision to increase the city’s shelters wasn’t made based on a need to increase capacity, but rather to improve physical distancing and to curb the spread of infections.

 And as for local residents claiming that no public consultation processes preceded the allocation of said temporary shelters, Toronto City general manager of Shelter, Support and Housing Administration Mary-Anne Bedard says that this would have been the case since the decision to create physical distancing in the city wasn’t one to be made by the public in the first place.

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