Meeting location: David Appleton Community Centre

Present:

Residents:

Adam Cygler, Alicia Freeborn, David Fitzpatrick, Gabrielle Gillespie, Heather Rollwagen, Jonathan Berges, Miriam Hawkins, Marla Powers, Rebecca Morfee, Samantha Martin, Siobhan Kelly, Stephanie Wilson, Virginia Presseault

Agencies:

Babur Mawladin (Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services), Jeff Attenborough and Steve Moniz from Toronto Police Division #11, Noel Simpson (Regeneration Community Services)

Councillors:

Councillor Nunziata; Jennifer Cicchelli, Councillor Doucette, Gregory Denton

MPP:

Laura Albanese, Rossanna Pena

Staff:

Costanza Allevato (Social Development, Finance and Administration (SDFA) and Meeting Chair), Tracy Campbell (Shelter Support and Housing Administration (SSHA),

Facilitator:

Lura Consulting; Jim Faught and Niki Angelis (minutes)

Regrets:

Sandra Almeida (Four Villages Community Health Centre), Morris Beckford (Access Alliance); Deane O’Leary, Hollie Pollard

Item/Discussion

1. Welcome & Introduction

  • Costanza Allevato opened up the meeting to welcome the group followed by a round of introductions.
  • The purpose of today’s meeting is to seek the CLC’s recommendation on the appropriate number of beds for the proposed shelter.
  • Steve Hilditch (Hilditch Architect) will give a preliminary design review of the shelter. Steve has many years of experience designing shelters in Toronto and is here to give us an idea of a potential design. Please note that this is not the final design, rather a high level concept of what is possible. A bid process for the design of the shelter will begin once council approves the project.

2. Minutes & Business Arising

  • No feedback on the previous meeting minutes.
  • Action: Post minutes of August 17 CLC meeting on the website.

3. Shelter Preliminary Design

  • Proper shelter components: Sleeping rooms (largest dedicated space), washrooms and showers, laundry, commercial kitchen for food prep, dining room, large multi‐purpose room/lounge, intake office at main entry – existing doors off Runnymede (security, properly registered), counselling and support area, program space (small dedicated room for smaller meetings, lounge and dining can be used for programming), community space (potential), outdoor amenity space (accessible from within the building only and fenced in), outdoor smoking area, existing area for parking to remain (and also used for deliveries).
  • Design of the building space including exterior façade is not final. Steve Hilditch provided a proposal based on his expertise and experience only. Once council approves the shelter, a formal bidding process will commence where designs more firm design plans are proposed.

Discussion:

Q: The smoking area seems quite large, does it have to be?

A: As a rule, you always want to have more space than you need due in part because there can be friction in small spaces. For the smoking area, maybe there will only be 8 people in that area at one time but if some people do not get along, there is space to move to distance oneself from potential conflict.

Q/C: This is not what I expected – community space should be located on the side with the windows where people can eat in the light, have the community space in light etc. Bedrooms do they need to have the windows as it may be the room they spend the least amount of time in. I would fill the naturally lit spaces with people during the day.

A: In the design we looked at a few different options. Your points are good points and this is not cast in stone but there are elements of the design that are limited by the building code. For example, all bedrooms must have windows. What you can’t see in this design is that the building has two heights: bedrooms are in areas with lower ceiling heights, common areas have higher ceiling heights.

Q/C: Again looking at the smoking space, it looks like it is as large as 3 bedrooms. I am concerned that bedrooms will again be tight.

A: These designs are preliminary ‐ ultimately number of beds will influence design. To provide more detail to the bedroom design. The orange areas in the plan are bedrooms for 4 beds. There are a series of corridors to give access to hallways and other spaces. In the past, dorms of 30‐60 people sleeping in one space, these conditions are difficult to sleep in and the trend has moved to smaller rooms with 4 people. Smaller numbers means a better sleep. In the design, we are pushing best practices to ensure there are 4 people per room.

C: Wouldn’t it be prudent to have smaller rooms as well to reduce interaction with those who may be troubled.

A: Yes this is preliminary design. It is important to have smaller rooms, especially for first timers, people with colds/coughs and other issues that would call for an isolated room. It is a goal.

Q: Can you point out the community space – it seems awfully small.

A: It is about 400‐500 sq. ft. All this is just preliminary, not confirmed at this time.

Q: How is this design reflecting lessons learned from other shelters you have designed?

A: Speaking broadly, this is one of the better suited buildings for a shelter because of the adjacent outdoor space. We have seen that when there was no outdoor space, clients would end up loitering on streets, in front of businesses etc. Dedicated spaces are for the benefit of users and neighbours. Shelter users are also vulnerable and having a space is very important.

C: It is interesting to see types of rooms proposed. I would like to see the incorporation of a quiet room, computer rooms (job, housing search). In times of cold and heat alerts must be able to add beds – can it be that if a bed room can fit 4 but when we don’t need them can have 2?

A: Need to design for the max at peak times but can do less in a room when don’t need it.

Q: What about secure storage?

A: Secure storage helps people get a good night’s sleep and is recommended in each bedroom. Wi‐Fi and charging stations in lockers is also something to consider

Presentation:

Costanza presented background information on why the shelter is needed and why a 100 bed shelter is proposed. She also outlined the services provided in a typical City of Toronto Emergency Shelter as well as feedback from the community

4. Small Group Discussion:

Three work groups discussed the following:

As a resident and stakeholder, how many beds do you recommend for the Runnymede Shelter and why?

  • No absolute consensus was reached at any table discussion
  • Group 1 had a range of 30‐68 beds (with an average of 47). This group emphasized the importance of high quality community space and improved quality of life.
  • Group 2 had a range of 60 to 80 beds with a middle number of 76. Again, a focus on improved community space was pivotal in determining the number of beds. Fear and stigma still a big issue and want to dispel that.

  • Group 3 had a range of 50 to 80, with average of 68. Want to ensure there will be adequate services

Considerations:

  • Costanza clarified that once in operation the shelter is evaluated (6 month review). We do not need a fixed number tonight. There will be an opportunity to expand so long as services and integration are going well.
  • Start small but build for double the capacity and scale up when proven to be working. This will also allow the community to get used to shelter.

  • Staffing ratio for shelters of 100 beds or more (not mandated but in general); 3 CSWs in day time shift, 3 in evening shift and 2 overnight. Shelters with 50 or below would change numbers of CSW’s on shift. Services and staffing are an important consideration.Design for more in emergency events (extreme cold/heat alerts). Would rather have beds with private security cubby rather than mattress on the floor.

  • Design for more in emergency events (extreme cold/heat alerts). Would rather have beds with private security cubby rather than mattress on the floor.
  • Not just about beds, it’s about services – that’s why has to be below 100

5. Next Meeting:

Discussion around types of programs and services to be offered at the shelter.