News Release
August 15, 2020

The City of Toronto is aware of a protest planned in midtown today in response to the opening of the Roehampton temporary housing program, as well as interim housing site at 55/65 Broadway Ave., which is closing at the end of this month.

A rally in support of the sites is also organized by the community for today at 10 a.m.

Residents have a right to express their concerns and have shared those concerns with the City in a number of ways. The City readily acknowledges those concerns, particularly on the issue of safety in the community. Steps have been taken to address community concerns, and will continue to be taken, including:

  • a third-floor outdoor space on the property that will open next week to give clients a place to spend time outdoors
  • installation of 33 security cameras
  • enhanced 24/7 mobile patrols
  • four security guards at the Roehampton site, 24/7
  • a Community Safety Team of seven individuals between the Roehampton and Broadway Avenue sites picking up hazards, such as needles and monitoring and addressing inappropriate activity
  • working with Inner City Health Associates to provide clinical health supports, including:
    • registered nurses and a physician
    • a virtual/telemedicine addictions physician clinic and day-time on call support, plus psychiatric clinical support
  • meetings held regularly with the clients, which include reviewing the Good Neighbours Policy and their responsibilities as residents of the shelter
  • educational signs posted in the building regarding conduct in the neighbourhood
  • Toronto Police Services’ Community Response Unit visiting the site regularly.

City staff also met on August 12 with school board trustees and parents in the area. The City is working with local schools on a safety and security plan for when school resumes.

The City has a responsibility to address and respond to safety concerns in any neighbourhood, while also supporting homeless individuals in our city with dignity and care. The City is working hard to integrate the Roehampton temporary housing program into the community in response to COVID-19. At least 14 residents of 55/65 Broadway Ave. have secured permanent housing. When the Broadway site is vacated at the end of the month, residents there will relocate to shelters in other neighbourhoods in the city.

Since mid-March, the City of Toronto has moved more than 3,500 people throughout its emergency shelter system to achieve physical distancing of two metres between shelter beds. It took these urgent actions in order to save lives and protect vulnerable people, who are at greater risk of COVID-19 related harms.

As authorized by City Council, staff has the delegated authority to establish shelters in locations that meet City zoning by-laws without public consultation. While the engagement process around community information for a shelter site typically starts 6-9 months before a shelter opens, the pandemic and the resulting state of emergency meant the normal engagement process of notifying and working with the community before a shelter opens was not possible. The City had to move quickly to open more than 30 new temporary shelters to avert potential outbreaks in an effort to save lives and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in shelters and the broader community.

A virtual information session will occur next Wednesday, August 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. to allow City staff to share plans for the Roehampton temporary housing program, community safety enhancements, as well as to hear from residents in the community. A community bulletin was also distributed this week.

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Media Relations