after a year of hard work to provide Tent City squatters with safe housing, the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (TDRC) was shocked to learn that city staff's final solution for the "Tent City situation" involves neither TDRC nor Tent City itself.At an October 18 meeting of the community and neighbourhood services committee, the TDRC proposal for the relocation of Tent City to a city-owned site at 525 Commissioners Street was rejected by city staff in favour of a Homes First proposal for the same land.
The Homes First project will result in the construction of 29 prefabricated transitional housing units, providing accommodation for 32 homeless people.
But the tenants will be drawn primarily from Homes First's existing clientele, meaning that most of Tent City's 60 residents will be left squatting precariously on their current, heavily polluted site.
A subsequent motion by TDRC to allow Tent City residents to settle on the unused half of the Commissioners Street site will be considered by council on November 6. But few can shake the feeling that the Tent City residents, who got the "prefab housing" project rolling, have been left out in the cold.
"Of course we're happy that anyone is going to build affordable housing,' says TDRC member Beric German. "But the people here are the ones who have campaigned for this type of affordable housing. And the solution that is proposed won't house all those at Tent City who need housing."