The Downtown East 2023 Action Plan has been developed to address a number of complex challenges in the area related to poverty, homelessness, housing, community safety, mental health and substance use, particularly opioid related overdoses.

In response to the heightened need for supports in this area, in June 2018, City Council directed staff to establish an expert team with representation from multiple divisions to implement a 12-month action plan and develop five-year action plan.

Implementation of the 12-month plan began in June 2018. The five-year Action Plan called Downtown East 2023 Action Plan, was approved by City Council in July 2019.

Background

City Council directed staff to develop a 12-month and five-year action plan to coordinate City services and programs and holistically address the long-term community needs in the Downtown East area.

The Downtown East 12-month Action Plan ran from June 2018 to June 2019. A number of actions from the 12-month plan will continue as part of the Downtown East 2023 Action Plan (refer to the Impact of 12-Month Downtown East Action Plan section on page seven in the Downtown East 2023 Action Plan report), with resources already committed through the 2019 budget process. Highlights of these actions include:

  • Enhanced street and laneway cleaning including in the area by Solid Waste Management Services and Transportation Services.
  • Enhanced staffing resources for Parks Ambassadors and Parks Cleaning.
  • Enhanced outreach resources through additional staff at Toronto Public Health, The Works.
  • Training for City and community agency staff on de-escalation, suicide prevention, and mental health.
  • Continuation of the Downtown East Focus Table and Community Safety Networks in Dundas Sherbourne, Church Wellesley, Regent Park and St. James Town.
  • Continued connections with residents, residents associations, BIAs and other stakeholders to access information and supportive trainings.
  • Tracking of new public realm developments in the DTE to identify points of integration where enhancements can contribute to outcomes of the Action Plan.

A full summary of actions and status from the 12-month Action Plan can be found in the Revised – Attachment 2 – 12 Month Action Plan Summary.

Study Area

The Downtown East area is bound by Bloor Street on the north, Front Street on the south, Bay Street on the west, and the Don Valley Parkway on the east, including an expansion up to 21 Park Rd., north of Bloor due to the respite site at that location.

Other City Initiatives in the Downtown East Area

A number of City initiatives have been undertaken in the area, including:

  • George Street Revitalization – a shared service facility resulting from the redevelopment of Seaton House that will combine shelter services, long-term care, affordable housing and a community hub.
  • Tenants First Project – a proposal was developed for additional supportive housing units in the area.
  • Toronto Public Health Supervised Consumption Services at 277 Victoria St. – this service opened in August 2017.
  • Furthering Our Community by Uniting Services (FOCUS) – the FOCUS table is facilitated by the Toronto Police Services, SDFA, and the United Way convening approximately 40 community and public organizations, weekly, to identify and address situations of high risk of anti-social or criminal behaviour;
  • The Community Crisis Response Program (CCRP) works across the City of Toronto in partnership with community members, agencies, and internal City divisions to enhance community safety. The CCRP team supports communities with the development of safety networks that create neighbourhood strategies for Crisis Intervention, Crisis Prevention, and Crisis Preparation. When communities have been impacted by violent and traumatic incidents, CCRP further supports the recovery and healing process.

On June 26, 2018, City Council approved an Enhanced 12-month immediate Action Plan for the Downtown East Area. The 12-month Action Plan included 36 action items, which were assigned to multiple City Divisions (Attachment 2). It also included a direction to report back with a five-year Action Plan for the community in the second quarter of 2019.

The staff report on the Downtown East five-year Action Plan was approved by City Council in July 2019.