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DSC

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The fact of the matter is, it is not safe for those in the community to use parks with encampments and quite frankly I would not use them myself. I do not know why these people are there but I do not want to be harassed by persons on drugs or thinking they are talking to god and risk my safety.
Richard: Why is it not 'safe' - do you have evidence of this. I agree that people may not feel comfortable but that's NOT the same thing as actually being unsafe.

"Those people' - as you call them - are probably camping for several reasons. They do not have permanent housing, shelters have restrictive rules (no dogs, out by 7 or 8am), shelters are crowded, shelters are not very safe if you are 'different' - gay, bi etc.

Of course, I would really prefer not to be reminded that we live in a very 'unfair' world where mentally ill people are not properly treated and cared for and where some of us have more than enough while others have far too little and I certainly have no magic remedy for the current situation (which is certainly not restricted to Toronto or Canada) but if you 'don't know why those people are there' you probably need to open your eyes and your mind a bit more.
 

picard102

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The reality is that no matter what their belief, circumstances what have you they cannot stay in the park. It is not safe for the community and it is not their god given right to stay there. They should be given ample notice to move and if they refuse, be moved by force.
Agreed. The province needs to re-open Institutional care facilities immediately. Closing them was a huge blunder, and we're seeing the results on our streets.
 

picard102

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Richard: Why is it not 'safe' - do you have evidence of this. I agree that people may not feel comfortable but that's NOT the same thing as actually being unsafe.
29 assaults this year. Is that a normal number of assaults for a city park?
 

Richard White

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Richard: Why is it not 'safe' - do you have evidence of this. I agree that people may not feel comfortable but that's NOT the same thing as actually being unsafe.

"Those people' - as you call them - are probably camping for several reasons. They do not have permanent housing, shelters have restrictive rules (no dogs, out by 7 or 8am), shelters are crowded, shelters are not very safe if you are 'different' - gay, bi etc.

Of course, I would really prefer not to be reminded that we live in a very 'unfair' world where mentally ill people are not properly treated and cared for and where some of us have more than enough while others have far too little and I certainly have no magic remedy for the current situation (which is certainly not restricted to Toronto or Canada) but if you 'don't know why those people are there' you probably need to open your eyes and your mind a bit more.

To be quite honest, there are far too many bleeding hearts out there to actually do something about the issue at hand.

When I worked near Allan Gardens you would not believe how much drug paraphernalia was spread across the park. The encampments had fuel canisters near them and garbage strung out in shopping carts. The people living in this encampments would occasionally venture out topless or sit on their chairs in the park drinking. I personally did not feel safe walking in the park around all that. Some even started talking to themselves.

Other times, they would get confrontational if you came too close to their encampment.

In either case, it was a safety and health hazard. Can you imagine what sort of wild animals are attracted to the food scraps and garbage are in their encampment? Do you not recall the fires that happened at encampments with improperly stored fuel canisters?

Public parks are just that. Parks. They are not homeless shelters, they are not campgrounds and the taxpaying members of the public should not be afraid to use a public park because people pander to the homeless.

I am sorry, I feel for them but something needs to be done and staying in the parks is not an option. Bleeding hearts be damned, either they find a proper place or they be removed.
 

DSC

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Agreed. The province needs to re-open Institutional care facilities immediately. Closing them was a huge blunder, and we're seeing the results on our streets.
Not sure that the re-opening of 'asylums' is the answer and they were generally closed in most of the western world starting in the 1960s as they were not only very expensive but did not work well or cure their inmates. It was (and is) generally accepted that most people with mental illnesses or physical disabilities are much better looked after in the community and not simply 'warehoused'. The problem was (and is) that when the 'asylums' were closed there was not nearly enough provision of 'care in the community', supportive housing etc etc.
 

Northern Light

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To be quite honest, there are far too many bleeding hearts out there to actually do something about the issue at hand.

That, frankly, is a lousy take.

When I worked near Allan Gardens you would not believe how much drug paraphernalia was spread across the park.

I would, and that's an issue.

The encampments had fuel canisters

A real safety concern.

garbage strung out in shopping carts.

I suspect you're talking about people's possessions which they have no other way to store............

The people living in this encampments would occasionally venture out topless or sit on their chairs in the park drinking.

Toplessness is legal in Toronto everywhere; and drinking in parks likely will be next year, and is widely tolerated now.

I personally did not feel safe walking in the park around all that

I'm sorry to hear that, but would tend to put that on you. I feel perfectly safe walking in Toronto Parks. Its not risk-free, but nothing is..........

Some even started talking to themselves.

Gasp.

Other times, they would get confrontational if you came too close to their encampment.

Again, a real issue.

Public parks are just that. Parks. They are not homeless shelters,

Right, we all get that........but we haven't provided enough shelters for everyone......and some we have provided are profoundly unsafe in their own right.
 
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Northern Light

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Agreed. The province needs to re-open Institutional care facilities immediately. Closing them was a huge blunder, and we're seeing the results on our streets.
Not sure that the re-opening of 'asylums' is the answer and they were generally closed in most of the western world starting in the 1960s as they were not only very expensive but did not work well or cure their inmates. It was (and is) generally accepted that most people with mental illnesses or physical disabilities are much better looked after in the community and not simply 'warehoused'. The problem was (and is) that when the 'asylums' were closed there was not nearly enough provision of 'care in the community', supportive housing etc etc.

I'll split the difference here. I think as @DSC notes above, at the time of the large-scale reduction in in-patient mental health beds, there was a consensus that many people being treated/detained were not benefiting, their quality of life was sub-par, their freedom curtailed more than necessary and all at great cost to the state.

There was a compelling case for reducing reliance on in-patent, long-term stay, mental health beds.

****

But I will agree with @picard102 that there are now too few few beds of this type.

One need not quibble w/how many such beds were left at the end of the great reductions which happened largely in the '90s; its sufficient to note that the bed count has not since kept pace with population growth, or an aging population.

Again, I would add, @DSC is on-point in noting that we need an intermediate level of care in the community; something between total freedom, and institutionalization at the other end.

Housing that provides on-site nursing/medical support; that requires a daily welfare check, but otherwise defaults to as much freedom for people as is practical.

We clearly don't have the balance right.
 

zang

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To be quite honest, there are far too many bleeding hearts out there to actually do something about the issue at hand.
"Bleeding hearts"; AKA people with compassion for other human beings.

When I worked near Allan Gardens you would not believe how much drug paraphernalia was spread across the park. The encampments had fuel canisters near them and garbage strung out in shopping carts. The people living in this encampments would occasionally venture out topless or sit on their chairs in the park drinking. I personally did not feel safe walking in the park around all that. Some even started talking to themselves.
The HORROR! People talking to themselves. The PATH at 5:10pm must be so frightening.
Other times, they would get confrontational if you came too close to their encampment.
Entirely realistic when people are having their belongings stolen on a routine basis by both others in the encampment and the authorities sent to clear said encampments. That and housed people coming in with their positions of privilege shouting them down for not living a privileged life.
In either case, it was a safety and health hazard. Can you imagine what sort of wild animals are attracted to the food scraps and garbage are in their encampment?
Wild animals! So scary. So scary.
Do you not recall the fires that happened at encampments with improperly stored fuel canisters?
Depending on who you believe, there were 253 or 135 encampment fires last year. No injuries or property damage either way.
Imagine, people generating heat and cooking power for themselves when they don't have access to stoves. So very selfish of themselves.

Public parks are just that. Parks. They are not homeless shelters, they are not campgrounds and the taxpaying members of the public should not be afraid to use a public park because people pander to the homeless.
So the homeless are not part of "the public". Tax income is the only important part. Got it.
I am sorry, I feel for them but something needs to be done and staying in the parks is not an option. Bleeding hearts be damned, either they find a proper place or they be removed.
"My heart [insert here]…"

What I get from all of your statements is you're afraid of the unhoused. But, don't you *work* as security?
 
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afransen

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Maybe Richard has his aversion because he actually has to deal with the downsides of rampant homelessness.
 

zang

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Maybe Richard has his aversion because he actually has to deal with the downsides of rampant homelessness.
Perhaps, but as someone who's dealt with many with mental health issues and the unhoused (including friends and family) throughout my life, it really, really comes across as NIMBYist pearl-clutching.
 

zang

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AKA people who wring their hands online and end it there.
Source for that?
No injuries? Someone died last year, and the year before.
Injuries to others..

The city doesn't actually keep "death by fire" (or exposure, or malnutrition, or starvation) stats for the unhoused like they do others (like nearly 50% died of drug overdose in 2020). With shelters almost always completely occupied, there are few places for the unhoused to go. What would you do in such a situation and without a safety net? No home, no spaces in shelters. Where would you go?

If your answer starts with "but I wouldn't let it get to that point…" then you've lost the plot. The vast majority of the unhoused aren't there because they chose it.

But death shouldn't also be the milestone we have to hit before we care about these people's lives.

Improve the waiting lists for housing, the shelter capacity, the shelter security. Hell, just implementing a basic liveable income policy would keep the vast majority out of poverty, in better physical and mental health and give them a crap-tonne more stability.

Otherwise, just pushing people out of a given park is just playing whac-a-mole.
 

zang

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Goalpost: Moved.
Two bodies in two years found in burned structures, with no public release of investigation results. Sure, you got me. I'm so embarrassed now, I'll just shut the heck up and not say another word, as my credibility has been totally destroyed by my flippancy.

Give me a break.

Got a reason to defend the NIMBYism? Pony up, bucko.
 

Northern Light

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Perhaps the exchange above has run its course.

It is possible to dislike the presence of encampments and acknowledge the danger they pose to the residents of same; while equally admitting they exist, at least in part, because there aren't enough shelter beds; and because some of those beds
are in unreasonable conditions which are neither safe nor hygienic.

It is possible to agree that upon providing an indoor place people can go, which is both safe and hygienic, it is then reasonable to ask people to take up that opportunity and move along from encampments/parks.

It should also be possible to agree that for reasons both of compassion and self-interest (I want my park back) that this issue should be addressed with all due haste.
 

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