LEVY: Out-of-control shelter plan reviewed and passed in 15 minutes

At least two operators in the business of providing services to the homeless told the community services committee Wednesday that shelters are band-aid solutions and their focus should be on affordable housing.

In fact, Mark Aston of the Fred Victor Centre warned committee members that building more emergency shelters could increase chronic homelessness, already a problem in the existing shelters.

Jean Stevenson, executive director of Madison Community Services, insisted the city needs to strengthen its focus on housing as a solution to homelessness and that all staff in the city’s increasingly bloated (my words) social service, affordable housing and real estate departments need to get on board (Not that any of them seem to work together on a shared vision. Nope, that would be too easy.)

The (mostly leftist) councillors on the committee even agreed that long-term housing is what is really needed — at least all except Joe Cressy, whose policies are definitely skewed towards keeping the downtrodden dependent on government handouts.

But after a mere 15 minutes of questions and virtually no debate — after all lunch was calling– councillors rubber-stamped the whole darn package of expensive band-aids that will absorb at least $220-million of precious tax money over the next two years.

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Actually in all honesty, Mayor John Tory and his puppeteers Cressy and Joe Mihevc keep adding so much to try to manage the refugee crisis of their own making (can we say Sanctuary City?,) I’ve lost count how much they’ve gone over budget already on these expensive band-aids.  Just a few weeks ago we heard that they’ll end up with a $22-million shortfall this year — despite having gone $10-million over budget last year and adding $20-million to this year’s shelter budget.

(Hey, I’m beginning to realize why the city’s roads are a mess, full of ruts and potholes. I wouldn’t be surprised if city money is being diverted to social services.)

Let’s not forget that the city’s shelter officials have already taken it upon themselves to purchase four pre-fab structures — at a whopping $2.5-million each — to set up refugee camps on vacant city land in four areas of the city (two of them to be Scarborough and Etobicoke.) There’s another really bright $10-million idea, which of course won’t include the many more staff that will need to be hired to manage the yurts.

Councillor Joe Cressy. (Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun)

But also coming soon to a neighbourhood near you are 1,000 more shelter beds on 13 different sites. Where those sites will be is a good question since, not surprisingly, the 49,000 Toronto real estate board members contacted were only able to suggest 18 properties, three of which are considered remotely suitable for shelters.

I said not surprisingly because although the city’s shelter bureaucrats refuse to fathom that residents have rights too, I suspect many real estate agents worth their commissions realize residents might not like having a shelter — especially a low-barrier one that accepts anyone and their pets — rammed into their neighbourhood with no consultation and with no help from anyone (including the police) when all hell breaks loose in the area.

But in the end, whatever logical thought some committee members might have had was cast aside by the pontificating (bordering on intimidation) by Cressy.

He claimed the city has “no choice” but to scale up the emergency response because of all the crises that are impacting Toronto, including not just refugees but his favourite agenda “opioids” and safe injection sites.

I swear the very self-serving Cressy prefers there be a crisis, actually many crises.

He enjoys creating a drama and prancing around at the centre of it.

Never mind what impact his drama has on those of us who foot the bill.

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Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies