“Clearly there’s a homelessness crisis in the city,” says Joel Osteen, a homeowner in Toronto’s Bloor West Village, speaking at a recent town-hall meeting convened to protect local property prices from the scourge of unkempt people being sheltered nearby. “And clearly we have to do something about that. Which is why I’ve pre-surveyed a number of fabulous locations for housing people in the east end of the city. Please see my hand-out as annotated.”
With Mayor John Tory looking for new sites for shelters, needed because of a burgeoning population of the homeless, the revitalization of Seaton House causing the displaced to be further displaced, and the continued lack of a comprehensive support network for those who slide through the gaping holes in Canadian support services, the mayor is finding vociferous push back from people who are for the concept in general, but not the application of it in their own neighborhood.
“I’m all for giving people somewhere to live,” said a man on a street adjacent to one proposed location for a men’s shelter in the west end, “Just not men, not here. Cute little kids, no problem, as long as they’re gone before they’re old enough to cause trouble. Men? No way. And I told Olivia Chow that just before I voted for her. As I recall, she pretended not to hear me.”