City opens Warming Centres to help those experiencing homelessness

Posted on December 17, 2020

The City of Toronto opened its four Warming Centres this week to give those who are vulnerable and may be experiencing homelessness an additional place to rest and access snacks, washroom facilities and referrals to emergency shelter.

Space will be offered at the following:

  • 129 Peter Street
  • 5800 Yonge Street
  • Exhibition Place, Better Living Centre
  • Scarborough Civic Centre

Warming Centres are traditionally activated when the City, in consultation with the Medical Officer of Health, issue an Extreme Cold Weather Alert (ECWA) based on a forecast from Environment and Climate Change Canada of minus 15 degrees Celsius or colder.

While the temperature forecast has not reached this threshold, the City is activating the Warming Centres in an abundance of caution due to colder nighttime temperatures, snow forecasted over the next few days and because this is the first spell of colder weather of the season. The Warming Centres are currently scheduled to remain open, 24/7, until Friday at noon.

In addition to the Warming Centers, the City’s Streets to Home outreach team dispatched additional 24/7 teams to connect with people living outside and encourage them to come indoors. Staff will also hand out blankets and sleeping bags.

Residents should contact 311 if they see a person experiencing homelessness in need of assistance and the City will dispatch an outreach team to investigate. If the person is in distress or needs immediate assistance, call 911.

All services at the Warming Centres will be delivered following ongoing COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of those using the centres. This includes encouraging physical distancing and the mandatory use of masks, ensuring hand washing, conducting symptom screening and monitoring, increasing infection control and prevention measures such as enhanced cleaning, and providing isolation and recovery sites for individuals that await results or test positive to recover.

The Warming Centre spaces are being opened as part of the City’s 2020/2021 winter services plan to help those experiencing homelessness. This is the first year that the City has offered more than one Warming Centre, which will increase access to these services across Toronto.

In addition to Warming Centre capacity, through the winter plan the City is opening approximately 620 additional spaces through a combination of shelter and 24-hour respite beds, hotel rooms and housing units with supports. This is on top of the City’s base shelter system, which provides more than 6,000 spaces for those experiencing homelessness each night.

The winter plan will be in effect until April 2021. The need for services will be monitored and the City will adapt as required to respond to changing circumstances.

To learn more about the winter plan, visit:

https://www.toronto.ca/news/city-of-toronto-2020-2021-winter-plan-for-people-experiencing-homelessness/.

 

Reduce, reuse and recycle right this holiday season

Posted on December 17, 2020

The City of Toronto is encouraging residents to be mindful of the amount of waste they generate over the holiday season and to look for opportunities to reduce and reuse.

This holiday season, the City is reminding everyone to protect themselves and loved ones from COVID-19. Toronto Public Health strongly recommends individuals avoid in-home gatherings and celebrate in-person only with the people that they live with and celebrate virtually with those outside the household.

The City manages approximately 900,000 tonnes (two billion pounds) of waste each year which requires money, energy and resources, and takes up valuable landfill space. Small changes can have a big impact. During the holiday season remember the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle right, and waste less with the following tips.

Reduce

  • Consider low-waste gifts such as buying gift cards from local shops and restaurants or a charitable donation in a loved one’s name.
  • Get creative and make gifts from materials that you have around the house.
  • Say “no” to single-use items such as cutlery, plates and cups when ordering delivery and takeout.
  • Plan meals ahead and store food correctly to reduce the amount of food waste.

Reuse

  • Save gift bags, gift wrap, ribbons and bows to reuse year after year.
  • Get crafty when wrapping by using reusable fabrics, newspapers, old cards and calendars.
  • Shop online for quality second-hand options.

Recycle right

As more people turn to online shopping this season, it’s important to know how to properly sort items used for shipping. Reuse online packaging if possible and check how to dispose of items before placing them in the Blue Bin.

  • Recycle flattened cardboard, paper gift wrap and rinse plastic plates and plastic cups before placing them in the Blue Bin.
  • All mailer bags including those labelled as compostable go in the garbage.
  • Bubble wrap, bubble envelopes, plastic strapping from boxes and packing peanuts go in the garbage.
  • Dispose of foil/metallic wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, and fruit crates in the garbage.
  • Use the Green Bin (organics) for fruit and vegetable scraps, meat including bones, spoiled cakes and cookies.

Never put recycling in black bags or throw black plastics in the Blue Bin (recycling).

As a precaution in response to COVID-19, soiled paper napkins and tissues should be placed in the Garbage Bin and all garbage should be bagged.

For more tips and ideas on how to reduce waste this holiday season, watch for your 2021 waste management calendar in the mail or visit www.toronto.ca/reduce-reuse.

More information about how to properly dispose of holiday items is available at www.toronto.ca/wastewizard.

Toronto Drop-In Network – meal programs udpate

Posted on December 17, 2020

The winter holiday meal list of drop-ins and other meal programs operating between Dec 21, 2020 to Jan 21, 2021 is now available on the Toronto Drop-In Network’s website at https://tdin.ca/resource.php?id=712

The document will continue to be updated as new information becomes available. Please visit the webpage regularly to view the most up to date information.

Planned City of Toronto holiday camps and instructional programs cancelled due to COVID-19

Posted on December 17, 2020

The City of Toronto is cancelling all planned 2020 holiday CampTO camps and winter instructional programs, including Learn-to-Skate and Instructional Ski, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 as Toronto’s COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise. This decision follows recommendations from Toronto Public Health and the City’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa while Toronto remains in the Grey – Lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.

The City’s holiday camps were scheduled to run at 30 locations beginning December 21 to align with the winter school break. Approximately 706 participants had registered this year for City holiday camps. This year, there were close to 441 registrations for Learn-to-Skate programs and 4,919 instructional ski spaces. Registration for instructional ski spaces had not yet occurred. The City is issuing refunds automatically to all current camp and Learn-to-Skate registrants. While registrants do not need to request a refund, they can contact pfrcustomerservice@toronto.ca with any questions.

Runnymede Station is accessible – Easier Access Project Update

Posted on December 10, 2020

Runnymede Station is the newest TTC subway station to become accessible. Three new elevators connecting the street to concourse and subway platforms levels are now open for customer use.
Other minor project related work will continue at the station.

Runnymede Station is Accessible 2020

Short-term rentals operators in Toronto must register by December 31 to continue hosting

Posted on December 10, 2020

Short-term rental operators renting homes or rooms for periods of less than 28 consecutive days must be registered with the City of Toronto by December 31, 2020, to continue short-term renting in Toronto.

Beginning January 1, 2021, registered operators must start collecting the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT). After January 1, 2021, the City will take enforcement action against operators who are not registered or are not following the rules. Enforcement action will also be taken against short-term rental companies that allow unregistered operators to list on their platform or contravene the bylaw.

Toronto is currently in the Grey – Lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework in an effort to reduce and eliminate the transmission of COVID-19, which began on November 23, 2020. During this time, as per provincial regulations, short-term rental reservations made before November 22, 2020 will be honoured regardless of when the rental occurs. No new reservations can be made after November 22, 2020 except for individuals in need of housing.

Despite the current restrictions, the City requires operators to be registered by the December 31, 2020 deadline to continue to short-term rent in Toronto when allowed by the provincial regulations. Registration is a mandatory step to legally rent out homes for short-term stays in the city. Operators are only allowed to short-term rent their principal residence – the residence where they live – and the address used for bills, identification, taxes and insurance.

Information and government-issued identification submitted with the application is validated by the City through a five-day processing period. Operators are strongly encouraged to register and pay the $50 fee as soon as possible to avoid last minute delays at: https://www.toronto.ca/ShortTermRentals.

Once registered, operators must include the valid City-issued registration number on all listings advertising the short-term rental and start collecting the MAT from January 1, 2021. The MAT payment is due on a quarterly basis, within 30 days of the end of the quarter. For example, the first quarter for 2021 will be January 1 to March 31, and the MAT payment will be due by April 30.

Registered operators who have not rented their property in a given quarter must still file a remittance each quarter. Operators are also required to keep a record of all accommodation transactions, including revenue collected and any exemptions that may apply during a reporting period. More information on how to submit MAT payments will be available in early 2021.

The City continues to respond to issues related to short-term rentals on a complaint basis, such as noise, waste and concerns that people are renting homes that are not their principal residence. Residents can contact 311 to report issues. Starting in the new year, complaints can be submitted to 311 online.

The current complaint-based enforcement will be supported by a data-driven enforcement approach.

  • Information that the City is collecting from operators upon registration will allow the City to validate that people only short-term rent their principal residences.
  • Short-term rental companies will be required to provide the City with data, including operators’ registration number, number of nights rented by rental type, and the address of listings, which will support efforts to ensure that short-term rental rules are being met.
  • Data scraping techniques will also be used to pull information from websites where operators post their listings, to identify issues and validate short-term rental activity in Toronto.

Short-term rental companies must ensure that all short-term rental listings on their platform have a valid City registration number. Starting in the new year, the City will begin sharing the registration number, the associated ward, and the first three digits of the postal code of registered short-term rental properties on its Open Data Portal. Short-term rental companies may validate against this list to ensure invalid or unregistered operators are removed from their platforms.

If a short-term rental operator is not compliant with the bylaws, the City will use its authority to cancel registration. If the City cancels an operator’s registration, short-term rental companies are also required to remove the operator from their platforms.

Operators not complying with the regulations are guilty of an offence and if convicted, may be liable to pay fines. Information on fines for specific offences and other short-term rental information for operators and companies is available at https://www.toronto.ca/ShortTermRentals.

Junction Residents Association presents ‘Joy in the Junction’

Posted on December 10, 2020

Enjoy the sounds of the season with the Junction’s ‘Travelling Carolers’ and support The Sharing Place all from your front porch!

Groups of carolers (4 to 8 people) will be strolling through your neighbourhood singing some of your favourite Christmas/Winter songs on December 19, 20 and 21 between 6 and 7 pm. (Carolers will be masked and socially distanced).

If you would like to donate a gift card, tape this flyer to your mailbox, leave your porch light on and place the gift card in an envelope in your mailbox. One of our carolers will collect your donation from your mailbox.
Suggestions for gift cards include grocery stores, chain coffee shops, or discount box stores.

You may also choose to donate online directly to one of the following local non-profit organizations:

Feed It Forward
FoodShare
Stone Soup Network
The Four Villages
The Period Purse
The Sharing Place
The Stop Community Food Centre

Please visit the JRA website www.torontojra.com to learn more.

City of Toronto continues working with community-based agencies to provide mental health support to vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on December 10, 2020

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Toronto has partnered with community-based agencies that provide mental health and social services to support residents during this difficult time. The City has also remained committed to providing Torontonians with safe opportunities for recreation and prioritized access to the City’s parks and green spaces for fresh air and exercise.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, continued measures to slow the spread of the virus and protect the city’s most vulnerable residents have created stress and anxiety for many individuals. These mental health pressures are particularly severe for individuals who are faced with challenging circumstances such as social isolation, job loss and illness.

Mental health support

The City launched the mental health support strategy in April 2020 and partnered with key mental health service providers to support the wellbeing of Toronto residents. Partner agencies have reported that almost 88,500 people have either called, texted or sent an online message for support. Of that number, more than 80,300 people received direct mental health support and more than 8,000 people were referred directly to partners for additional support. Preliminary data also indicates that 40 per cent of contacts were seniors, and three per cent of people seeking mental health services were youth. To date, 211 has also reported a total of 42,708 mental health-related web searches regarding issues related to community mental health services, addiction treatment, youth mental health, crisis lines and in-person crisis services.

Toronto residents are reminded that they have access to free mental health services from the safety of their homes. Anyone experiencing anxiety or stress can call 211 to connect with one of 13 mental health service partners for direct phone support. Mental health service information is also available at http://www.211toronto.ca/,as well as through the City’s website at https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-protect-yourself-others/covid-19-mental-health-resources/.

Mental health services are available for specific populations, such as: children and youth; seniors; frontline workers; Indigenous, Black, persons with disabilities and LGBTQ2S. These specific service providers include:

  • Across Boundaries
  • Caribbean African Canadian Social Services
  • Crisis Text Line
  • Family Services Toronto
  • Gerstein Crisis Centre
  • Hong Fook
  • Kids Help Phone
  • Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
  • Ontario Psychological Association
  • Strides Toronto
  • The Access Point
  • Toronto Seniors Helpline (WoodGreen)
  • Warm Line (Progress Place)

To help support frontline workers, specific mental health resources have been mobilized as part of the City’s Mental Health Support Strategy to support them. Frontline workers with minimal or no mental health coverage are encouraged to call 211, note that they are a frontline worker in need of mental health supports, and they will be connected to specialized counsellors free of charge.

 

Close Avenue Parkette – Playground Final Design

Posted on December 8, 2020

On November 5th, Councillor Perks and Park Staff held a virtual meeting to discuss proposed designs for a new playground at Close Avenue Parkette (King St W. and Close Ave). Staff shared different design options and gathered community feedback to finalize a design.

 

The following attachment is the final design for Close Ave Parkette. If you have any questions or comments, please send us an email at councillor_perks@toronto.ca

Close Ave Parkette-Preferred Concept Plan

Junction Residents Association’s supports Toronto Miracle

Posted on December 3, 2020

There’s a city-wide food drive (Toronto Miracle) happening on Saturday December 5. The general premise is to invite every household to donate 1 non-perishable food item (please check to ensure the donation is not expired). The Junction Residents Association will be promoting and helping to organize a Junction-wide effort in support of Toronto Miracle.

Given the limited time we have to organize, we are asking residents to volunteer to be a Community Captain for their street by signing up using the following portal Volunteer | Toronto Miracle | December 5th Food Drive  Once you have signed up, please email us at junctionra@gmail.com so we can partner with you to arrange local drop off locations, organize pick up routes, support the health & safety plan and collaborate with local food organizations. You will essentially be responsible for inviting neighbours who live on your street and we will support you with everything else.

The JRA also needs volunteer drivers to pick up donations. Please contact us at junctionra@gmail.com if you are interested in helping out.

If you are not able to volunteer to be a Community Captain at this time but would like to donate food, please visit Donate | Toronto Miracle | December 5th Food Drive to do so. Please email us at junctionra@gmail.com we will arrange to pick it up.”

 

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