Homeless shelters should not be located near Elementary schools – Move Bond Place Shelter

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The Bond Place Hotel homeless shelter, which opened on August 21, 2020 as part of the city’s COVID-19 response, is located within 50 meters of an elementary school (St. Michael's Choir School) and directly on the path between the school and Dundas subway station where many children walk to and from school each day. A safe injection site is also located within 200 meters of the school.

This new shelter has taken adults mostly from the controversial shelter site at Broadway Avenue in Toronto, which shut down due to numerous violent incidents, such as a stabbing, a gun being found in the shelter and numerous robberies. The Broadway Avenue and nearby shelters led residents in the surrounding neighbourhoods to protest over increases in crime, syringes and other drug paraphernalia being found near schools, parks and sidewalks and a sharp increase in break-ins. Mayor Tory was aware of those protests and visited that community in response.

The City's response was to move the shelter from Broadway Avenue to Bond Street within 50 metres of an elementary school. In three weeks alone the School has dealt with: break-ins; needles and a knife on school property; vandalism to school property; human feces and used condoms in the school lanes and school yards; and abusive berating by Bond Place residents towards teachers, parents and school staff.

Last year a homeless client of the safe injection site violently attacked a caregiver taking an elementary student to school causing the caregiver to suffer a broken nose and a concussion. The potential impact on the safety of children next to the Bond Place Shelter is significant enough that children need police and/or security to be present during school hours. Police have admitted that some of the residents of the shelter are dangerous.

THE HOMELESS ARE A VULNERABLE GROUP IN TORONTO, BUT SO ARE THE CITY’S CHILDREN.

We are parents but we are also tax payers. Therefore the more than $10.5 million dollar price tag of putting up homeless people in the Bond Place Hotel also makes us financial stakeholders in the issue of why the Bond Place Hotel was chosen to shelter homeless people without advance consultation with the surrounding community and so close to an elementary school.

The future of St. Michael's Choir School is in jeopardy if the City and the School cannot ensure a safe learning environment.

Apparently no elected representative of the City had a say in this decision. WHAT ARE OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS DOING TO REPRESENT THE INTERESTS OF OUR CITY'S CHILDREN?

We want the City to immediately reverse the decision to place a homeless shelter in the Bond Place Hotel, and to relocate the shelter to another site.