LEVY: Kick criminals out of TCHC units and keep them out!

One more time, with feeling!

The Liberals under former premier Kathleen Wynne sent the city’s request to a big black hole.

But Mayor John Tory said Sunday he’s trying — yet again — with the new Conservative government to get changes made to the Housing Services Act that will ensure evicted drug dealers and other violent criminals are not permitted to return to Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) units.

“I believe they should change the law which says you get a free pass back into TCHC when you’ve broken precisely the kind of laws (the gets you evicted),” he said after sending off a letter to new Conservative housing minister Steve Clark.

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Toronto council unanimously endorsed a request to the province to change the Housing Act back in April of 2017 but two housing ministers let it slide.

Good for Tory for keeping on the file even though it is now three years since the Task Force on Community Housing, led by Art Eggleton and Phil Gillies, made it abundantly clear that there are many TCHC tenants who feel intimidated to come out of their units for fear of running the gauntlet of drug dealers and other violent criminals.

TCHC CEO Kathy Milsom has repeatedly referred to safety being a priority, considering their buildings — with only 4% of Toronto’s population — are the source of 25% of violent crime in the city.  Yet I think there are far too many highly-paid community safety officers who still turn a blind eye to the drug dealing and to criminals entering buildings illegally.

Mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat at the mayoral debate on the arts. (Jack Boland, Toronto Sun)

Mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat, when first asked about Tory’s move, evaded the question, focussing on the need for repairs to TCHC units.

A few hours later I got a response that clearly showed she has no insight into the extent of the problem.

“Evicting someone because of a criminal record and putting them on the streets can do more harm than good,” she said. “Rather we need to keep them housed and ensure there are supports in place to keep them and the people around them safe.”

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Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies