Author Topic: Ford administration wants homeless removed from streets (Toronto)  (Read 1030 times)

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Ford administration wants homeless removed from streets (Toronto)

Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti believes the best way to deal with the homeless is transitional housing.  He just doesn't think the city should pay for it.  In the meantime, he wants all homeless people to be removed from Toronto's streets and placed in hospitals until the federal or provincial governments fork over the cash to house them.

"It is a huge problem and this administration knows it's a huge problem - a problem we can't afford," Mammoliti told CityNews on Tuesday.

"We do need to take them off the streets and we need to do it forcefully."

The outspoken and often controversial councillor has been chosen by Mayor Ford to chair a task force on homelessness in September.  Mammoliti is hoping to push for a policy change before the new year, saying he wants the province to alter current legislation, giving Toronto police the right to remove individuals from the streets.

"We need to change the necessary bylaws and the Act provincially to enable us to do it."

A crackdown on aggressive panhandling already seems to be underway.  In 2010, Toronto Police laid 15,500 charges under the Safe Streets Act --- marking a 600 per cent increase from 2004.

Mammoliti says the tickets are virtually useless because they usually go unpaid.

"They rip them up, and in many cases they are certainly not in the frame of mind to understand it."

"I would rather use those police resources and actually take them off the streets and put them in the hospitals, and continue to put them in the hospitals until the province recognizes it's best to give the municipalities the money that they need to be able to deal with this long term - which is resources and housing."

"Jail is not the place to put them because it costs us $3000/day per person."

An individual can currently only be taken off the streets if they are assessed and believed to be a danger to themselves or others.

Mammoliti thinks that criteria is too stringent and costly.

"It's a huge resource, a huge bureaucratic nightmare to get them off the streets. We need the piece of legislation changed to enable our police officers to do it right away."

The Ford administration, ironically, has its own hat out, begging for money.

"The funding has to come from the federal and provincial government, there's no other way to do this," Mammoliti stressed.   
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