A city staff member at a temporary homeless shelter near Yonge and Eglinton at 55-65 Broadway Ave. was stabbed by a shelter resident Tuesday evening.
According to a Toronto Police Service [TPS] press release, a 55-year-old Toronto resident has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and another related charge.
A TPS report indicated that the alleged “approached staff at a local temporary shelter, stabbed a woman staff member and rushed at other staff while brandishing a knife.” The report goes on to state that the woman was transported to a local trauma centre with serious injuries. The investigation is ongoing.
The City of Toronto released a statement regarding the incident.
“The city will be conducting a full review of the circumstances of this incident in consultation with Toronto Police Services and the city’s corporate security division to determine the next steps, including security enhancements if required. Case management and housing search supports have been provided, resulting in some clients already moving into permanent housing. 24-hour security guards and video surveillance are on-site,” the statement read, in part.
Despite 24-hour security at the shelters, there has been growing concern over some activity in the neighbourhoods surrounding the facility temporarily housing those experiencing homelessness as well as a second facility set up in the former Roehampton Hotel, prompting some residents to form a neighbourhood watch program.
The founder of a local program said that she feels it is essential for residents and police to work together to defeat crime in various areas throughout the city.
“If individuals are aware of what’s going on by using our Google platform (shared with resident associations, BIAs, police services, and local politicians), we can all protect ourselves…” said the group founder, who chose to remain anonymous for this article.
Many city residents are concerned about the rise in crime that seems to have coincided with the opening of temporary homeless shelters.
According to the city, the program is designed to be temporary, while the units are vacant pending redevelopment in September. Staff are working to find permanent or alternate temporary housing for all clients before the end of August.
Councillor Josh Matlow has been an integral part of the shelter conversation and recently issued a statement.
“In no context is it acceptable to leave needles on our streets and schoolyards, harass people, break into stores, steal, defecate in public, or make people feel intimidated and unsafe. I believe this is inarguable and cannot be accepted as the status quo,” Matlow said in an open statement posted to his website.
The city will hold a virtual town hall meeting on Aug. 19 to discuss the recent changes and future changes. More information about the upcoming meeting can be found on the city’s website here.
According to Toronto Police, the person charged was scheduled to appear at College Park Court on Aug. 5 at 10 a.m.