By ALI RAZA, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A three-storey building designed for individuals exiting homelessness planned for East Toronto has been a hot issue for local residents who have expressed several concerns about the future occupants.
Residents are once again invited to a virtual community engagement session on Monday, May 3, with Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford and members of city staff to ask questions and receive feedback about the proposed modular housing build planned for Trenton and Cedarvale avenues in East York.
The modular housing build – which allows the construction of the building faster than usual – will have approximately 64 studio apartments, self-contained, with a twin-bed, private kitchen, and bathroom. The building will also include a laundry facility, a public kitchen and dining area, program space, and administrative offices.
It will be administered by not-for-profit groups pending a request for proposal.
Bradford said he’s been engaging with community members on the project consistently after hearing concerns raised in the last meeting about the building.
“We’ve had meetings for our four subgroups to take a deep dive into the areas we’ve heard the most feedback: safety, parking, schools and, sports and recreation impacts,” he said.
“I’ve been meeting with city staff regularly to get project updates and relay the feedback I’ve been getting on the phones, in the inbox and online. There have been thousands of touch-points with the community on this.”
At the first two online meetings, while some residents expressed safety concerns, they were largely addressed by city staff who informed residents that the modular builds are not “homeless shelters” but in fact are type of affordable housing that has shown to be a successful model of solving homelessness in other areas of Toronto and Vancouver.
Other concerns, however, are yet to be addressed. These include worries that there will be a significant loss of parking given the area proposed for the building is currently a parking lot. The possibility of higher volumes of on-street parking has also raised safety concerns for pedestrians, cyclists, and children in the area given there is an elementary school and sports fields across the street.
The Trenton site was chosen from a list of 40 city-owned land plots. The city is unable to build modular housing on land it does not own.
“I’m looking forward to getting feedback on the consultation process so far and the project updates that the city staff team will be presenting,” Bradford said.
“While there’s still a lot of work to do, we are moving forward positively and in a way that will respond to the local community’s input while moving ahead in a way that ensures we build this much needed and essential housing.”
The virtual community engagement session will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 3.
Residents interested in attending are asked to visit the city’s project webpage at https://bit.ly/3vypmbr to sign up on the day of the meeting.
Ali Raza is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.