Community Liaison Committee Runnymede Minutes: June 9, 2017
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June 9, 2017
David Appleton Community Centre
Gabrielle Gillespie, Stephanie Wilson, Adam Cygler, Rebecca Morfee, Heather Rollwagen, Miriam Hawkins
Mayor John Tory; Councillor Sarah Doucette (Ward 13); Councillor Frances Nunziata (Ward 11); Edward Birnbaum, Senior Advisor, Council & Stakeholder Relations for Mayor Tory; Chris Haskim, Executive Assistant, Councillor Doucette’s Office; Jennifer Cicchelli, Executive Assistant, Councillor Nunziata’s office
Joe Casali, Director, Real Estate Services; Costanza Allevato, Director, Community Resources, Social Development, Finance & Adminstration; Mary-Anne Bédard, Director, Service System Planning & Integrity, Shelter, Support & Housing Administration (SSHA);Beth Hayward, Policy Development Officer, SSHA (notes)
Welcome & Introductions
- Welcome from the Mayor, who thanked the committee for all their work and noted that the suggestions from this group have significantly shaped the process and are comprehensively addressed in proposed new shelter model.
Update on Runnymede Shelter
- Joe Casali provided an update from Real Estate Services on the status of lease:
- The City has come to terms with owner of the property. Owner has signed offer to lease to the City and is bound by that contract should the City choose to enter lease (through Executive Committee and City Council). Terms of the lease be heard at Executive Committee on June 19th and then at Council in July 5th to 7th . Opportunity to depute at Committee.
- Proposal is for a 10 year lease with option to renew for two following five year terms. Locked in rates for two second five year periods – allowing the City to fix costs over 20 year period.
- Includes a clause permitting the City to use the property for other City uses (e.g. office space, child care, community space).
- How much for the lease?
- Report will be public on Monday June 12th in advance of committee. Real Estate Services is confident it is at market rate.
- After Council approval, how quickly can the City sign the lease? What is the timeline for opening the shelter?
- Lease can be signed quickly following Council approval. Then renovations to the building can begin. The City will proceed with renovations as fast as possible while maintaining high quality. Aiming to open in late summer or fall of 2018, at latest by winter 2018.
- Were there any changes or surprises in the lease negotiations?
- No, it was a relatively straightforward negotiation. One contributing factor to closing the deal was that the City was able to negotiate with the owner that the owner will do the work inside the building, subject to checks and balances to ensure the City is getting good value.
- Any unexpected restrictions on the lease?
- The City has significant latitude to make changes in the building (“tenant improvements”) short of structurally changing the building.
- Any restrictions on outside renovations/design?
- Similar to parameters for inside the building. The City is paying for the improvements/changes and has freedom to make necessary renovations.
Update on CLC Shelter Recommendations
- Costanza Allevato provided an update on the proposed implementation plan in response to CLC recommendations. See the handout: “Shaping the program at 731 Runnymede.”
- Mary-Anne Bédard provided an update about the insights from the process of developing a new shelter siting process and service delivery model. See the handout: “Changing the conversation from shelters to housing”: https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2017/cd/bgrd/backgroundfile-102630.pdf
- There was meant to be six-month evaluation with the CLC. Will this still take place?
- What will the eventual maximum capacity of the shelter be? When we’re doing the design, we want to make sure we’re designing properly for the full potential capacity.
- As per Council direction, the facility will start with an initial occupancy of 50 beds. The facility will be designed for a maximum capacity of 70, so that if we need to expand the program in the future, the building will have the appropriate capacity and infrastructure.
- What will be the size of the rooms? Will they be bigger than shelter standards? What about common areas like computer rooms?
- An architect provided a preliminary design for the building outlining what types of rooms and facilities the space could accommodate, including single, double and quad rooms. The designing process will be iterative with opportunities for input. There remains a lot of flexibility for shaping the specifics of the space – both rooms and common spaces such as computer room.
- Who will the architect be?
- The City will go through a transparent competitive process to select an architect once the lease is signed.
- What is timeline for architect selection process?
- We anticipate having an architect on board by late summer so design process can get started before fall.
- Are we collecting housing outcomes data in the current shelters (e.g. tracking where people are going from shelters currently)? Will we have the capacity for pre/post comparison to the housing outcomes of the new shelter?
- We are currently working on improving our capacity to track housing outcomes for shelter clients. SSHA recently commissioned a study on shelter use patterns over the past five years that provides good baseline information about length of stay patterns. We are investing both in designing new shelters, but also improving existing shelters. For some time there will be a variety of shelter models in operation simultaneously and we will continue to improve housing outcomes tracking across the system.
- What about serving over-represented groups (e.g. indigenous, veterans, LGBTQ2S youth)?
- The client-centred service model emphasizes meeting all clients where they are at, and addressing their unique service needs. The City does have shelter locations that are focused on a specialized populations, but it’s important that general shelters can also effectively support all client groups.
- It would be good to put the shelters out of business. We need to develop the solutions and focus on creating homes. This is the missing piece. E.g. could basement apartments contribute to housing supply? The city is full of homes that could accommodate secondary apartments.
- There is exciting work going on around “secondary suites” through our colleagues in Municipal Licensing and Standards. They are looking at how to harmonize bylaws around secondary suites across the City, and are looking at a pilot about laneway housing. The City is increasingly looking at developing a corporate response to homelessness, partnering across divisions to consider how different divisions can contribute strategically to ending homelessness and increasing the supply of affordable housing across the city.
- Is there a way I can follow the developments around MLS work?
- We can facilitate a connection with staff in MLS. Perhaps they can come to present to this committee on their work.
- Do you have a budget for this shelter? Will contractors put in high estimates?
- There is a general budget for all the new shelters we need to bring online. The first step in developing a more detailed budget for the Runnymede Shelter will be to get the design and estimates from the architect. This process will be led by Facilities staff.
Presentation from Stephanie Wilson:
- Stephanie Wilson gave a presentation drawing on Urban Heart data to highlight concerns about concentrating poverty and overburdening certain communities. Costanza Allevato noted that it actually highlights the importance of everyone around the table – residents, agencies, the City – to work together to shape the shelter as an asset that supports the shelter clients and the neighbourhood.
- What can the CLC do to support these recommendations through Council?
- You have the opportunity to depute or attend (June 19th Executive Committee).
- Are there other shelters being developed at the same time? Related to George Street Revitalization?
- Hope Shelter in Councillor McMahon’s Ward – on Eastern and Leslie. That shelter was further along in its process than this one and will open sooner.
- YouthLink is opening a youth shelter in Scarborough. It was the first to start from beginning of new community engagement process and had a very positive reception and a lot of support at Community Development and Recreation Committee this past week.
- Also looking at developing additional shelters.
- Do we explore existing City owned buildings for shelter developments? What about schools specifically?
- Real Estate has looked at approximately 250 locations. Most City buildings are already programmed and in use, and there in constant turnover in City-owned Real Estate as the City assesses the best value for buildings. We are looking city wide at how to leverage City buildings across divisions and across the city for opportunities for co-location and multi-purpose sites.
- We are looking at not only City properties, but also opened up conversations with the School Board and with the Province (which has even more property in Toronto than the City). Schools specifically are often really large and therefore not ideal for shelter sites.
- Are we putting a Tim Hortons and a McDonald’s and a Maker’s Space and a barber and a small independent business in the shelter space?
- Further conversations about design details can proceed after lease is signed.
Next Steps and Action Items
- The committee will reconvene in early fall.
- Email the report to the committee once it is public.
- Send out details about Executive Committee meeting time and location and mechanisms for getting on agenda to depute. Explore the possibility of a timed deputation so people don’t need to wait all day.
- Make connection with staff in MLS so committee members can follow the work around secondary suites and laneway housing. Consider inviting MLS to present at future committee meeting.