114 Toronto Families Need Our Support
114 Toronto Families Need Our Support
Why this petition matters
Over 100 families in Toronto’s Ward 4 - Parkdale-High Park have been displaced from their homes in Swansea Mews because they’ve been deemed structurally unsafe. These families face stress and hardship as they navigate tremendous uncertainty. Toronto Community Housing (TCH) is the organization responsible for finding both temporary accommodations and more permanent TCH housing for these families in the coming weeks. Nobody knows what is going to happen at Swansea Mews, and how long it will be before families might be able to move back - if ever.
This is a horrible situation, and I’m asking you to please join me in supporting all 114 Swansea Mews families by requesting that Toronto Community Housing (TCH) and both the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and Toronto Catholic School Board (TCDSB) work together to ensure:
1) All Swansea Mews families understand all TCH housing options available to them and the associated implications of those housing options on aspects of their lives such as schools for their children, transportation, and social services they may rely upon.
2) All Swansea Mews families have the opportunity to gain this understanding through an in-person meeting with both TCH and local school board representatives, a translator (if needed), and a trusted person of their choosing should they wish to have support in understanding all the options available and making what is a difficult decision.
Swansea Mews families deserve to have as much information, choice and agency as possible amidst this incredibly challenging situation. They also need to know that the broader Parkdale-High Park community supports them. Furthermore, the TCH, the TDSB and the TCDSB needs to know that the broader Parkdale-High Park community supports Swansea Mews families, and supports providing as much information and agency as possible to these families as they navigate this incredibly challenging situation.
I grew up living at Swansea Mews, and graduated from Swansea P.S. and Humberside Collegiate. Despite the stigma I have felt in my life from having grown up in community housing, today I’m proud. I'm also grateful for the opportunities I had growing up in this community that have allowed me to raise my own children with privileges that I never experienced growing up. I know the stigma because I felt it as a child and still sometimes feel it today.
This recent situation has led me to spending many hours with Swansea Mews families over the past couple of weeks, trying to help. I have been reminded how magical Swansea Mews was and continues to be. It is a unique community where children can run around playing; where differences are celebrated; where ignorance isn’t welcomed but curiosity is greeted; and where a mix of cultures come together sharing food and laughter. It’s the place where I fell in love with lasagna and curry chicken, and where I introduced my friends to ramen and kimchi. Growing up, my friends and I always said we were the original United Colours of Benetton.
Swansea Mews is a place where resilient single women raise their children to be resilient and persevere, and where they teach their kids to have strong work ethic and to be resourceful. I realize now, as I enter my fifties, that I was privileged to have been exposed to so many different cultures and to have had the chance to grow up in a community so rich in diversity and so full of strong mothers and female role models. You don’t have to dig deep, just open your heart to see why the residents of Swansea Mews add value to our community.
Thank you for signing this petition, which will be shared with Executive Members of TCH, TDSB, and TCDSB, as well as local elected officials.