Meeting took place at the Regent Park Community Centre at 5:30 p.m. on October 23, 2019.

Attendees

  • Anika Harford, Shelter Support and Housing Administration (SSHA)
  • Caroline Ambrose, CUPE Local 79
  • Celine Maiolino, SSHA
  • Elsa Borja, Seaton House
  • Gord Tanner, SSHA
  • Howard Freedman, Former Seaton House Resident
  • J’net AyAy Qwa Yak Sheelth, Kwewok Nakii Collective
  • Kapri Rabin, Street Health
  • Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Local Councillor
  • Lauralyn Johnston, Social Development Finance and Administration (SDFA)
  • Lorraine Hewitt, Local Councillor’s Office
  • Monica Waldman, Seaton House
  • Susan Bender, Toronto Drop-In Network
  • Theo Prociw, Seaton House
  • Michael Jonker, PRISM
  • Riaz Shaikh, Seniors Services and Long-Term Care (SSLTC)
  • Andrea Mantin, Brook McIlroy
  • Ella Kelly, Brook McIlroy (Indigenous Studio)

Meeting Objectives

Meeting was called to update the stakeholders on the George Street Revitalization (GSR) project status and schedule, and to discuss elements of the Seaton House transition plan and the community hub.

General Discussion

Refer to the Powerpoint Presentation.

  • Anika Harford facilitated the meeting and introduced the City representatives who gave respective updates.
  • Anika Harford and Riaz Shaikh discussed the project’s milestone updates.
  • Celine Maiolino discussed updates related to the Seaton House Transition plan.
  • Mali Sedore discussed the key updates from the proposed Public Realm.
  • Lauralyn Johnston and Emily Martyn facilitated a discussion of the Community Hub.

Members’ Questions

  • Of the beds closed at Seaton House, eight are shown to have gone to long-term care.  Did these eight go to traditional long-term care homes or into specialized units?
    • The eight entered into traditional long-term care homes.
  • It was noted that 181 beds will be decommissioned from Seaton House.  What are the plans to ensure that we do not lose capacity in the system? What are the plans around addressing capacity given the decommissioning of beds and the upcoming winter season?
    • The City will be replacing 400 of the 581 beds at Seaton House. These beds will become available at the new GSR transition sites, along with the support services that meet clients’ needs.
    • Over the last 18 months, 133 of 181 beds have been decommissioned at Seaton House. Clients occupying these beds have been successfully housed across a variety of housing options (e.g., supportive housing, social housing, private market, Long Term Care). The City continues to track client housing outcomes.
    • Due to increased winter pressures, the City intends to open additional beds through to April 2020.
    • All of this is happening in tandem with the search for 1,000 new shelter beds within the overall system.
  • Why are the new beds at Scarborough Village Residence (“SVR”) only available to those from Seaton House?  Hoped to see the beds available to clients from the surrounding area.
    • Of the beds at SVR, only 40 were reserved for those transferring from Seaton House.  The remaining beds were filled by clients that transferred from the closed Birchmount Residence, which operated in the same geographic area.
    • Now that SVR is open and operational, beds that become available when clients are housed will be open to the community and normal intake processes will be followed.
  • How “big” can we think/dream in regard to what we envision for the Project (e.g. heated sidewalks, etc.)?
    • At this time, the City wants to hear any and all ideas for the Project.
  • How many square-feet are intended for the Community Hub; how much has already been allocated?
    • The Community Hub will be approximately 40,000 square-feet.  No square-footage has been specifically allocated yet; however, the City has a general sense of the required square-footage for some potential uses (e.g. social enterprise cafes, large community kitchens etc. which are around 700 square-feet if one is to be included).
  • Who is the intended targeted user of the Community Hub (e.g. SSLTC and SSHA clients, wider community, etc.)?
    • In addition to long-term care and shelter clients, at this time it is expected that the space will be utilized by residents of the Downtown East and wider community.  However, the City looks to members to determine if that is feasible.
  • City Posed Question: Is it desirable, or even feasible, to design the Community Hub to accommodate both SSLTC and SSHA clients in addition to the wider community, which includes young families?
    • Various Members:
      • It sounds ideal, but presents a number of challenges.
      • Must ensure there is suitable and sufficient space for vulnerable populations.
      • The Project should focus on the needs of vulnerable populations, homeless and under-housed.
      • It may be difficult trying to serve two very different populations.
      • Working at Seaton House with clients who live there for months or years, we know it is scary for them to move out of a program and away from staff and supports they have come to rely on.  There is an opportunity for the Community Hub to be a place for transitioned clients to come back to their community as it would be good for people to come back to same area they were apart of for so long knowing they can get the support they require.
      • Keep in mind that rooming house residents also frequently require the same type of support as shelter clients.  They should also be able to access services.
  • What is the purpose of a community kitchen and who would use it?
    • In addition to providing the opportunity for life skills and general training, SDFA provides classes for nutritional and food handler certification (approximately 200 people a year).  Canning and preservation can also take place.
    • Similar to 6. And 7. above, the City looks to Members to assist in determining the desired users.

The second half of the evening included a facilitated discussion on amenities that should be prioritized for inclusion in the community hub at the new GSR site. A summary report will be subsequently shared.