Our primary concern about the location of this respite and drop-in centre relates to public safety, not only for local residents and their children, but also for the women who use the centre, who will have no security once they step out of the door of 233 Carlton and onto the sidewalk. SSHA has told us firmly that their responsibility for clients stops at the front door.
SSHA says that the 233 Carlton location was chosen because it is in close proximity to 67 Adelaide St., but 67 Adelaide Street is 2.2 km away — a distance that anyone living downtown would not consider to be close proximity. In fact, at the Jan. 21, 2020 Public Forum scheduled by the City, a Fred Victor staff member questioned whether the women would actually leave their Adelaide Street community to come this far north.
From various enquires to SSHA and other city officials, it also appears that the site was possibly selected without any actual site visit being performed, nor were they familiar with the neighbourhood. The City reports that 11 other properties were examined and rejected, but they will not give any information on these locations nor on the site selection process. SSHA has only said that 233 Carlton Street met their criteria. But, 233 is non-compliant with existing zoning by-laws.
The building covers the entire footprint of the land — no balconies can be added (outdoor space is required), there is zero loading spaces on site with loading being done by blocking the public laneway that is also used by other businesses that back onto it. There is no loading dock; no storage area for garbage, nor does it provide required the parking spaces for staff, to name a few of the issues.
We have also not seen nor been able to obtain an estimate of the costs for off-site services that will be required such as community policing to provide public security, the additional garbage collection or enhanced street and laneway cleaning, all of which will be additional costs to the City.
 Those using the service are not necessarily homeless, but their housing may be dangerous or precarious. We have been told that three meals a day will be available to 60-100 people (pre-COVID-19) , and that the first 35 women (pre-COVID-19) in the facility at 8:00 pm will be allowed to stay for the night, but unlike shelters with security and lock-down they will be permitted to come and go at any time. There will be no security, other than surveillance cameras provided outside the building. How does a 24/7 facility protect vulnerable women, or keep the location free from the drug dealers and pimps from whom many are seeking respite?