Thursday, July 18, 2024

Residents in Carlington neighbourhood sounding alarm over spike in crime on nearby supportive housing

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Residents in the Carlington neighbourhood are sounding the alarm over a continued spike in crime and drug use that they are blaming on nearby supportive housing residences operated by Shepherds of Good Hope.

“They’re allowed to do narcotics in this facility and it’s not really supervised. They can take those narcotics off the property, do them wherever they wish, and we have had instances where individuals were doing narcotics and parks where children were, you know, so you got needles everywhere and stuff like that,” said Frank Germano, area resident.

The residents strongly oppose the plan to build another facility nearby.

There are currently three Shepherds of Good Hopes buildings in the area at 1053 and 1057 Merivale Rd. Down the street, another at 1095 Merivale Rd. opened last year and there are plans to build a fourth site right beside that.

Councillor Riley Brockington has received dozens of complaints.

“From aggressive panhandling to going on private property, private residences at all hours of the night, doorbells being rung at three, four in the morning, people who refused to leave businesses, the common theft, the open drug use in parks and bus shelters on the streets,” said Brockington.

Representatives from Shepherds of Good Hope met with concerned residents nearby, but refused to speak to CTV News on-camera and didn’t want the meeting recorded. In a statement, a spokesperson says “Shepherds does not deny that some of our residents have contributed to unwanted behaviours and crime in the area. We are responsive to the concerns of our neighbours and take appropriate action when specific incidents are brought to our attention.”

But Brockington says that’s not enough.

“If you’re providing a residence and three meals a day and other supports and benefits for residents, there should be some basic expectations. And one of them is you’re not going to be an illicit drug user,” said Brockington.

Shepherds of Good Hope says the new building will provide affordable housing for people who no longer require intensive supports and who wish to live more independently. Staff say these individuals will not be coming from the shelter system.

But residents still pushing back.

“Let’s maybe leave that third facility there, clean it up. But the fourth facility needs to be built somewhere else,” said Germano, who has lived in the area for decades.

Shepherds says they do not deny that some of their residents have contributed to unwanted behaviours and crime in the area, and say they remain committed to working with the neighbourhood and residents to reduce these events.

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