Today, the City of Toronto enforced the trespass notice it issued at Lamport Stadium park on June 12, encouraging encampment occupants to accept safe, indoor accommodation and supports. When City staff attended the park this morning, there were 11 encampment occupants at the park. By day’s end, two people accepted a referral to a shelter or hotel program, five people already had a space in the shelter system, three people left of their own accord and one person declined an offer of permanent housing.
Yesterday, at Alexandra Park, 14 encampment occupants accepted safe indoor accommodation with supports, and 12 left the park of their own accord.
Thirty structures have been removed from Lamport Stadium, as well as knives, an axe, a hatchet, propane tanks and car batteries. Yesterday at Alexandra Park, staff removed 68 structures and collected 19.5 tonnes of debris from the encampment.
The City has engaged with encampment occupants more than 20,000 times since the start of the pandemic, encouraging people to come inside where they have access to meals, laundry, medical and social supports, and a housing worker.
Fencing was erected today at Lamport Stadium park to allow City staff to engage with encampment occupants safely, as well as to allow City crews to then safely remove debris and begin the task of restoring and repairing the grounds of the park for general public use.
Enforcing the trespass notice at Lamport Stadium park today was a City decision. Toronto Police were present to support City staff should it be required. The City’s objective today was to peacefully encourage encampment occupants to accept safe, indoor accommodation, as it does daily with people experiencing homelessness across the city. Camping in parks is unhealthy, unsafe and illegal.
Protesters today at Lamport Stadium park indicated they would not leave the fenced area, preventing City staff from doing their jobs in assisting encampment occupants, and making the park safe and accessible for all. Protesters inside the fenced area were cautioned multiple times throughout the day that they needed to leave the area or would face possible arrest. As protesters remained in the area and refused to leave, the City requested TPS assistance in clearing the fenced area of the park. When the area was cleared by police of protesters, the City re-engaged with any encampment occupants who remained, and began the removal of structures and debris.
Belongings and valuables that people staying in an encampment are unable to take with them are safely stored by the City for up to 30 days. Occupants are able to take two bags with them if going to a shelter or hotel.
The City-operated outdoor pool at Alexandra Park reopened today, after being closed yesterday. City staff are working hard to open the splash pad, which had been closed so far this summer due to the encampment at Alexandra Park. Scadding Court Community Centre also reopened its indoor pool and washroom facilities. The Scadding Court Community Centre is a priority community centre and a member of the Association of Community Centres focused on emergency response, social, community, recreational and economic development for low-income, underserved and racialized populations.
As outlined in the City Manager’s report to City Council in June, encampments contravene several chapters of the Municipal Code and are not a solution to homelessness. The health outcomes for people who stay outside are complex and serious. Individuals living in encampments are also at risk of contracting COVID-19. Read the report.
Toronto Police Service, Toronto Fire Service and Toronto Paramedic Services have responded to more than 280 calls for service at Lamport Stadium park this year. The City continues to assist and protect people experiencing homelessness through COVID-19 vaccination, an increased focus on infection and prevention control (IPAC) measures in the shelter system, a pilot COVID-19 rapid testing program for new shelter residents and referring people to safer inside space with supports.
Since mid-December 2020, the City has opened 244 new affordable and supportive homes, including 100 modular homes. Currently, 82 projects are in the City’s affordable rental development pipeline, which will create 10,676 new, permanently affordable rental homes once completed. Over the next 12 months, the City is aiming to make at least 1,248 new permanent affordable and supportive housing opportunities ready for occupancy. This includes 798 net new affordable and supportive rental homes under the HousingTO action plan.
To this end, over the last several months, the City has announced nine new supportive housing projects consisting of more than 700 new homes across the city. The new housing will be developed through acquisition and renovation of existing properties or modular construction on City-owned or controlled lands. View a map and read additional information.
Bringing people inside means there are fewer people experiencing homelessness living outdoors and exposed to higher health and safety risks. Supportive housing offers a warm, safe place to call home; the necessities of life such as food, washrooms, and laundry facilities; and the opportunity for strengthened community connections.
All occupants of encampments and residents in shelters, including the hotel program, are offered a housing worker to help them move from a shelter into secure permanent housing.
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