Safe Housing for All

In November a few alert residents let me know about a horrible illegal flophouse in Parkdale. Located in the basement of a storefront on Queen Street, this place charged $10 a night per person to sleep on mattresses. It lacked basic sanitation, proper heat, and lighting. I immediately brought the issue to the Ward 14 problem properties task force, which includes the police, city enforcement staff, and representatives of residents’ and business groups.

Quick action from the Police, Fire and other city staff resulted in the basement being condemned and various compliance orders for property standards violations being issued. Also, Toronto staff worked to ensure that arrangements were made to make proper shelter and housing options available for all residents onsite.

While we have worked together to get approval for four affordable housing projects in Ward 14 this year, this episode shows that we still have a housing problem, and that predatory landlords are exploiting the problem. Canada must join the rest of the developed world and develop a national housing strategy.

To read Star reporter Donovan Vincent’s account please visit: