Published Saturday, August 15, 2020 1:28PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 15, 2020 2:47PM EDT
The demonstrators started protesting at around 10 a.m. near Northern Secondary School at Mount Pleasant Road and Broadway Avenue on Saturday.
A temporary housing program recently opened at the Roehampton Hotel and there is an interim housing site located at 55/65 Broadway Avenue, which is set to close at the end of the month.
One group of residents is concerned about what it said has been an increase in crime in the Yonge and Eglinton area since the shelters were created in late April, to provide more locations for clients to socially distance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The protests come after a city employee was stabbed at the Broadway housing site last week.
Residents who are concerned about the shelters said more needs to be done to ensure safety concerns are addressed and that shelter residents are properly supported.
Nick Avramis lives in the area and said he wants the alleged criminals removed from the shelters.
“We are all in favour of helping [the] homeless and those who are vulnerable,” Avramis said. “There [has] always been homeless people at Yonge and Eglinton for as long as I lived here and there’s never been any problems. But this shelter has an element of criminality in them that must be removed.”
Kayla Bailey, who is opposed to the protests against the shelters, said she is embarrassed to see so much hatred on the streets.
“They live in a high-density neighbourhood but they’re still expecting it to be the same affluent neighbourhood that brought them all here in the 90’s like my parents. But they’re bigots, they’re classists and they have no respect,” Bailey said.
Mayor John Tory released a statement today and said he has been talking with Midtown residents over the last few weeks to hear their concerns.
"I want people to know that the message has been received and that I am doing everything possible to address safety concerns in particular," Tory said.
"I will not for one moment let up on my efforts as Mayor to BOTH care for our most vulnerable populations AND maintain safe, secure neighbourhoods. We will work together to achieve both."
In a press release, the city said it acknowledges residents’ concerns and have taken steps to address them, including a third-floor outdoor space at the Roehampton site that will open next week for clients, 33 new security cameras, enhanced 24/7 mobile patrols and four security guards at the Roehampton site.
“The city has a responsibility to address and respond to safety concerns in any neighbourhood, while also supporting homeless individuals in our city with dignity and care,” city staff said in the press release.
“The city is working hard to integrate the Roehampton temporary housing program into the community in response to COVID-19.”