Homeless housing to move after fire, stabbing, local complaints

Broadway clients to be shifted end of August to permanent shelter or temporary shelter in another neighbourhood

The interim homeless housing program is leaving its 55–65 Broadway Ave. address at the end of this month to make way for redevelopment scheduled to begin in September, the city says.

Although the site was always meant to be temporary, pending development of the site, the move comes after a turbulent period at the homeless shelter.

A stabbing allegedly by one of the shelter’s clients sent a female staff member to the hospital with serious injuries on Aug. 4. This was followed two days later by the building needing to be evacuated due to a fire.

Also, media have reported businesses and residents in the area raising concerns about a perceived increase in crime and drug paraphernalia left around since the Broadway shelter and a shelter at the former Roehampton Hotel  both opened in the area.

“This week the midtown properties have been the subject of much public attention following several incidents at the Broadway Avenue program including an overdose death of a client, a City employee being stabbed by a client and a fire,” the city acknowledged in a press release Aug. 7.

The city said it will vacate the Broadway site by the end of August, moving its 150 clients either to permanent housing or to another temporary location in another neighbourhood.

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In the meantime, the city was launching a full review of security measures at the site. It was “working to address concerns raised by the community to ensure the safety of residents, clients and staff at this site,” according to an Aug. 6 release.

Mayor John Tory said on July 29 he was working with police to develop a strategy to address the community’s concerns over the two sites. The strategy was to include an increase in community safety teams, more security patrols ands more security cameras.

Stabbing at the shelter

The stabbing occurred on the evening of Aug. 4, when a man allegedly hurt a woman staff member at the shelter and brandished a knife at other staff, police said.

Security held the man until officers arrived and arrested a 55-year-old man.

The woman was transported to a local trauma centre with serious injuries, police said. The man faces several charges including assault with a dangerous weapon.

A statement by the city the same day identified the man as a client of the shelter at 55–65 Broadway Ave.

Fire on the first floor

Toronto Fire Services responded to a fire on the first floor of 65 Broadway Ave. in the afternoon on Aug. 4.

The building was evacuated and roads closed, including Yonge, Broadview and Redpath Avenue.

No injuries were reported at the time.

TFS was investigating the cause of the fire, police said.

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Posted: Aug 7 2020 12:32 pm