Community Liaison Committee (CLC) for Relocation of Birchmount Residence
June 4, 2018

Action for Neighbourhood Change Meeting Room
3600 Kingston Road

Community Members in Attendance

Ellery Hollingsworth, Community Resident
Farrell MacDonald, Community Resident
Paul Nedoszytko, Community Resident
Diane Shaddock, Community Resident
David Richardson, Community Resident
David Baird, Community Resident
Tanya Baksh, Community Resident
Mildred Jarvis, Community Resident
Rob Burridge, Community Resident
Priya Hawkins, Resident Advisor for TSNS 2020 for Scarborough Village
Carlos Barrios, Resident of Birchmount Residence
Kevin Galick, Resident of Birchmount Residence
Christine Hewitt, Community Engagement Mgr, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities and chair Scarborough Housing Stabilization Network
Denise Dennis, Frontier College
Sara Clenyg-Jones Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA
Terry Pariseau, Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (TAEH)
Leslie McDonald, Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (TAEH)

City Councillor and Staff

Gary Crawford, Councillor for Ward 36
Gail Ross, Executive Assistant
Tamara Hermann, Constituency Relations

City of Toronto Staff

Sharon Campbell, Shelter Manager
Shawn Yoder, Acting Shelter Manager
Sandra Damota, Supervisor, Social Assistance
Emily Kovacs, Program Supervisor, SSHA
Staff Sergeant Todd Flanders, 43 Division, Toronto Police Service
Sergeant C. Drucie, 43 Division, Toronto Police Service
Sergeant Lou Gibb, 41 Division, Toronto Police Service
Tom Cook, Neighbourhood Officer, 41 Division, Toronto Police Service
Chris Martin, Parks Supervisor
Dawn Hibbard, Counsellor, Birchmount Residence

Facilitator

Paul Dowling, Facilitator

Welcome & Introductions

  • Councillor Crawford welcomed everyone who has agreed to participate in the Community Liaison Committee to support the integration of the Birchmount Residence into the new community.
  • Councillor Crawford acknowledged the staff of the Birchmount Residence for their work. He has worked closely with them at the current location of the residence in the west end of Ward 36 and looks forward to continuing a positive relationship with them in the new location.
  • Councillor Crawford described the work that is underway by the City to acquire the East Side Motel to the west of the new shelter site and to ensure that the people living there are successfully and appropriately rehoused.
  • Councillor Crawford introduced Paul Dowling, the third party consultant retained by the City to facilitate the work of the Community Liaison Committee.
  • Paul Dowling introduced himself as someone with more than 30 years experience in the area of housing and other solutions for people who are homeless and living in unstable housing.
  • Paul Dowling indicated that, as a third party, his role is to support a good process and to facilitate communication among the participants in the process. Staff from various City departments are present to talk about the status of the project and to provide information about the design of the building and the programs that will be offered in the building.
  • Paul asked the participants to go around and introduce themselves and the way in which they are connected to the Birchmount Residence.

Update on Birchmount Residence

  • Emily Kovacs, Program Supervisor at the City’s Shelter Support & Housing Administration provided an update on the relocation plans.
  • Emily described the current state of the shelter system and the need to develop 1000 new shelter beds in the next three years along with a new council approved shelter service model and a new community engagement model related to shelters opening throughout Toronto
  • Emily provided a handout of a map of all the current shelter services in all wards in Toronto along with an infographic highlighting current statistics on homelessness in Toronto.
  • The new service models are being piloted at five different locations; Birchmount Residence at 3306 Kingston Rd will be one of them
  • The relocation of the Birchmount Residence will include an expansion of the residence from the current 60 beds to 96 beds.
  • Emily provided some architectural drawings of the building. She agreed to invite the architect to the next meeting to present more details.
  • The residence is expected to open in the new location at 3306 Kingston Road in September of this year.
  • Sharon Campbell, the Manager of the Birchmount Residence is moving temporarily to a new position at the City. She introduced Shawn Yoder, who will be the acting Manager of the Birchmount Residence and Sandra Damota, the Supervisor of Social Assistance, who will work with the Community Liaison Committee and provide information about the operation of the residence.
  • Shawn described the operating model for the shelter, which will operate in accordance with the City’s commitment to Housing First. This will mean that shelter staff will work with each resident to help them to move to permanent housing, either independently in the community or in an appropriate supportive environment.
  • The Birchmount Residence has been and will continue to be for older men.

Questions and Answers:

Q. Will the residence be exclusively for men?
A. While in the long term, the residence will be open to all genders, initially it will house the older men who currently reside at the Birchmount location, as well as a number of men who are longer term residents of Seaton House.

Q. What is the success rate for successful transition of residents to permanent housing?
A. The current success rate is about 10 men per month.

Q.  We need to ensure that the men are treated with dignity and respect, making them feel welcome in the new community (more of a comment).

Q. What will be the intake process?
A. 95 per cent of the men will be referred from other shelters based on their fit with the intended target population of older men.

Q. There is an existing homeless population in our area, including a number of “couch surfers”. Will these people be able to access the new shelter?
A. Yes, provided that they meet the criteria for this location. They would go through the intake process.

Q. What is the intended future use of the current Birchmount Residence?
A. The building is not in good shape; that is why we are moving. The building is not owned by the City; we understand that the owners intend to redevelop the site.

Q. Is it possible to improve the street lighting on Bellamy Road between Kingston Road and the GO station? Currently it is quite dark with the tree canopy.
A. City staff noted the concern and committed to looking into it and reporting back.

Q. Who is responsible for the streetscape of the new shelter?
A. There was a misunderstanding with the contractor about who should cut the grass, which has been resolved. The grass will be cut and the City will ensure that the property is well maintained during the construction and afterwards. The site design includes lots of shrubbery and trees.

Terms of Reference for the Community Liaison Committee

  • A draft of the terms of reference for the Community Liaison Committee had been circulated in advance. The facilitator walked through the draft with the committee and entertained comments and questions.
  • In the section dealing with the activities of the CLC, it was agreed that a tour of the current Birchmount Residence would provide insights for those who are not as familiar with shelters for homeless people. Staff will arrange for a number of tours for small groups.
  • The facilitator stressed that the activities shown are examples and that the committee can decide how to spend its time.
  • The committee will have the opportunity to assist with the planning and the realization of the official opening – Open House.
  • Communication to the wider community beyond the CLC is important. There was some discussion about Facebook groups that could provide a vehicle as well as local media. A communication plan will be discussed in more detail at the next meeting.
  • There was a consensus that the Terms of Reference be approved, substantially as presented (with removal of one of the two references to administrative support).

Consent to Disclose Personal Information

  • Emily Kovacs explained that the City’s policy is to seek consent from all participants in City meetings and committees to disclosure of their personal information.
  • In effect, this means that the minutes of the meeting will acknowledge their presence and their contributions. The minutes will be published on the City’s web site and will become part of the public record.
  • People were asked to sign a consent form (others did so on-line after the meeting).

Future Meetings

  • It has been suggested that trying to meet in the summer may be unsuccessful.
  • It was agreed that a second meeting will be scheduled for late June (June 25) and that the next meeting will be scheduled for the second Monday in September (September 10).
  • It was agreed that future meetings be in the same time frame as this first meeting (6 to 7:30 p.m.).
  • Paul Dowling will circulate a draft agenda one week before the meetings.