Toronto ‘overwhelmed’ by variety of homeless encampments: mayor

Mayor John Tory is acknowledging that town has been “overwhelmed” with the variety of homeless encampments which have popped up in parks and different public locations all through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tory made the remark throughout an look on CP24 on Monday evening, noting that there is no such thing as a “simple reply” to the issue.

Since March, Tory mentioned that metropolis employees have relocated 500 folks from homeless encampments with a few of these folks being moved into 17 short-term shelters which have been arrange at lodge websites.

Tory, nonetheless, mentioned that it will be just about inconceivable for town to filter out all of the encampments because of the scale of the issue and the necessity to assist safe alternate housing for these being instructed to depart.

“There aren’t any easy solutions. If you happen to say OK we are going to take the tents out of Fort York the place will we put these folks? You would possibly say we are going to put them within the motels however you requested me a query earlier this night in regards to the motels and the way folks don’t need them there so it simply goes on,” he mentioned, referencing the group opposition to the presence of a brief shelter on the outdated Roehampton Resort in midtown Toronto. “We’re actually attempting to cope with this however what we actually want over the long-term is a correct supportive housing technique for folks with psychological well being points and addictions points. What goes on with these folks, and it’s failing of the healthcare system, is a scandal and it causes them to finish up in shelters and in tents as a substitute of some sort of a remedy facility the place they might get some assist.”

A number of fires have been reported at encampments

Homeless encampments have popped up in quite a few parks throughout town for the reason that pandemic started with metropolis officers now estimating that 350 to 400 persons are dwelling within the makeshift tent cities.

A number of the encampments encompass only a few tents however others are fairly massive. For instance, metropolis officers now estimate that there are actually 40 to 50 tents in a single encampment that has been arrange within the southern finish of Trinity Bellwoods Park close to Queen Road.

Talking with CP24, Tory blamed the phenomenon, partially, on a call by the Ford authorities to launch “a whole bunch of individuals awaiting trial” from jails amid issues about COVID-19 outbreaks earlier within the pandemic.

A few of these folks, he mentioned, have inevitably ended up within the encampments because of the restricted house within the metropolis’s shelter system.

In the meantime, the presence of the encampments have led to security issues in some neighbourhoods.

On Monday, CP24 spoke with a number of residents within the neighborhood of Trinity Bellwoods Park who complained in regards to the presence of discarded needles within the space surrounding the encampment.

There have additionally been a number of fires which have occurred at encampments.

Final week, Toronto Fireplace responded to a blaze at Trinity Bellwoods Park that concerned a number of tents.

There was additionally one other fireplace at an encampment in Alexandra Park earlier this month that was reportedly attributable to a generator.

Talking with CP24, Tory mentioned that he “isn’t joyful” in regards to the presence of the encampments however he mentioned that town has to carry out a “delicate balancing act” as it really works to make sure that the folks dwelling in them have a protected place to go earlier than crews transfer in to dismantle the makeshift buildings.

Metropolis spokesperson Brad Ross mentioned that within the case of the encampment at Trinity Bellwoods Park employees with the Streets to Dwelling crew have been working to assist discover alternate housing for these keen to just accept it and have already moved six folks into shelters or interim housing.

He mentioned that Parks, Forestry and Recreation employees are additionally often visiting the park to make sure that particles is safely discarded.

“Whereas encampments usually are not one thing we condone clearing a full encampment like Trinity Bellwoods proper now would imply that we must have someplace for all these people to go and at the moment proper now we wouldn’t have that capability within the (shelter) system,” he mentioned.