Councillor Frances Nunziata speaks to Police Chief Bill Blair.
Credits: DAVE THOMAS/QMI AGENCY
TORONTO - It's time to start booting drug dealers and prostitutes living in Toronto Community Housing properties, Councillor Frances Nunziata says.
Nunziata, a member of the TCHC board, made the call for aggressive action just a week after the shooting at the Danzig St. block party on housing property that left two dead and 23 injured.
The tragic event has put the spotlight on safety issues in TCHC properties but Nunziata said tenants have been complaining about safety issues for years.
"As far as I'm concerned, if you know that they are dealing in drugs, if you know that there are prostitutes, why are we housing these people? We shouldn't be housing them. Get rid of them," Nunziata said.
TCHC's Tenant and Community Services Committee meets Wednesday to talk about the results of town hall meetings held in April that found tenants had safety concerns.
A report going to that committee states TCHC residents had many complaints about "crime-prone individuals and drug dealers" living in the buildings.
"Many tenants felt a sense of fear from the violence, vandalism and other criminal activity occurring around their residences," the report states.
Nunziata said she's heard from TCHC residents about safety concerns and she's seen it first hand at one TCHC building in her ward.
"I know all the apartment numbers of all the drug dealers and the prostitutes (in the building) but we can't evict them," she said.
The Ward 11, York South-Weston councillor said the process to evict a tenant "goes on and on and on."
"We have to start evicting these tenants that are causing the problems," she said.
Councillor Paula Fletcher questioned why the Danzig St. party that ended with the fatal shooting was allowed to continue when there was no permission for that party to take place.
"The fact you can just call a big party without the permission of the landlord is a bit surprising," Fletcher said. "So I guess there are systems that need to be put in place rather quickly so everybody knows what is taking place."
TCHC officials said the event on Danzig was planned for a tenant's leased space - their back yard.
"There was no request for permission to use the common areas of that community," TCHC spokesman Sinead Canavan stated.
But TCHC officials refused to say how they will respond to the unauthorized event.
"For privacy reasons, we cannot discuss any actions Toronto Community Housing may be taking with regards to any one tenant," Canavan said.
"Reminders will be issued to tenants in townhome communities about the reasonable use of outdoor space."