A tenant in a Toronto Community Housing Corp. house on Wellesley St E. in Toronto shows drug needles found in the common bathroom on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012
Credits: MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI AGENCY
A senior living in a Toronto Community Housing Corp. building at 271 Wellesley St. E., near Parliament St., said drugs are rampant in the three-storey complex, despite multiple complaints to management.
"This is where they come to break in when they can't get into one of the rooms for their needles or smoke their crack," the 66-year-old man, who asked not to be named, said Wednesday in the building's communal bathroom.
"I was so angry with all the needles I found that on the bathroom door upstairs, I taped the needles to the doors just to show what's going on."
Soon after the man moved into his second-floor unit 14 months ago, he noticed his neighbour - whom he claims is in jail now - enticed drug dealers to come in to the men-only building.
Crouching on the floor of the communal bathroom on the second floor Wednesday, the tenant uncovered the baseboard heater and using a wire hanger, fished out two needles - one containing a murky substance - and what appeared to be a glass pipe used for smoking.
Crack and crystal meth are among some drugs the tenant said people use in the publicly-funded complex.
"It's gruesome," he said. "There were approximately 15 to 17 needles that were under this heating unit. If they hear a sound (of people approaching), they will roll this stuff under here."
When the neighbour was handed an eviction notice and TCHC came to clean up his belongings, workers left behind what the man claims was roughly 60 used and unused drug needles.
"I knew it was bad, but there were open needles and needles with caps on, spoons that had bits of cotton batting in them, which they use as a filter when they're doing crystal meth," he said.
"This is no way for a person who has health conditions like myself to live."
Besides drug problems, the building has security and cleanliness issues. The man said he's seen bedbugs, cockroaches and mice. A hallway closet contains garbage, including a soiled twin mattress that's been there since he moved in.
Maintenance workers don't even want to enter the building because of the needles, human feces and vomit in the rooms and hallways, the tenant said.
TCHC spokesman Sara Goldvine said she is aware of "drug issues" in that particular building and serious criminal activity is not tolerated.
"When we are made aware of those issues, we do take appropriate action," she said. "I can't speak about specific complaints because of privacy reasons. We are bound by the Residential Tenancies Act and the eviction process is managed by the Landlord and Tenant Board."
Goldvine said tenants are urged to call their community safety unit to report any issues "and we do take action," she said, adding staff will be deployed to the Wellesley St. building to clean up the needles.
The senior said TCHC ought to tear the place down.
"I think they should take some plywood and nail everything shut and close the house up like they did down the street," he said.
"You can go to any one of these apartment buildings and there's crack all over ... but it will still be safer than here."