Posted July 05, 2018 08:03:56 A new downtown park on the corner of Lincoln Park Avenue and Spadina Avenue is being developed as part of a new city-wide strategy to tackle the growing crisis of homelessness.
Mayor Rob Ford announced the new park, called Lincoln Park South, in a speech on Monday night at the City Hall.
It will be one of several new green spaces in the city, designed to attract and support people with mental health, substance abuse, developmental disabilities and other conditions.
“We have to build a city that supports people and provides them with the services they need to live safely, with dignity and to build their futures,” Ford said.
“There is no one way to deal at this point.
It’s a complex issue that requires a whole range of approaches.
We are taking action on the ground.”
Ford said he wants to build on a $1.4-billion public health plan approved by the provincial government that includes funding for new programs for people with physical disabilities, such as those with autism or learning disabilities, and more mental health and substance abuse treatment.
“Our new plan will help us address the underlying causes of homelessness,” he said.
He said he’s working with council to put in place new guidelines for new facilities, and the mayor is also calling for the creation of an integrated housing unit, including people with disabilities, in order to reduce the number of people living in shelters.
“That’s going to help us reduce the housing costs of the city,” he told the audience.
“This will create a city where you don’t have to choose between shelter and a place to live.”
Ford also said the city will build the new Lincoln Park park to address homelessness.
“When you look at the homeless problem in Toronto, we’re not talking about a handful of people,” Ford told the crowd.
“You look at homeless people in Vancouver.
You look at people in our city.
You see people on the street.
You just have to look at what’s going on.”
Ford did not specify how many people will live in the new parks.
The mayor said that the park will also serve as a resource center for people who are homeless and in need of assistance, and that there will be spaces to share information about the parks.
“It’s going, for the first time, to provide the services people need, to help them find a place they can call home,” he added.
The park will be designed to look like a “green room” that will allow people to use a restroom, shower and do other activities without being in a shelter, said Olivia Pidgeon, a spokeswoman for the city.
Pidgeons group has been working on the project with the Downtown Toronto Partnership, a group of commercial developers, and is now in the final stages of the design.
Pregnant women and seniors who have mental health issues will also be able to use the park, she said.
Peralta, who lives on Spad, said she is excited about the park.
“I’m going to use it as a place for me to talk to my husband,” she said, adding that she has not been able to find a shelter.
“If I go out, I don’t know where I’ll find a safe place to sleep.”
With files from Stephanie Jardine