Public Progress Community Engagement Report
September 15, 2023
In July, the South Riverdale Community Health Centre engaged Public Progress, an independent firm with expertise in housing, homelessness and community outreach, to engage the local Leslieville community on issues related to community safety. We invite you to read the attached report, which summarizes the findings of the consultation.
This report has been shared with the Safer Community Committee and will be considered in their recommendations to the SRCHC regarding actions the Centre and other stakeholders could take to improve community safety.
Interim Chair SRCHC Board of Directors
Back to School FAQ
September 5, 2023
Through our community engagement processes, we have heard many questions. With back-to-school upon us, we are sharing responses to these questions with you.
Update regarding fatal shooting investigation
August 23, 2023
As you may be aware, Toronto Police Service announced arrests related to the fatal shooting in our community on July 7, 2023.
We were distressed to learn that one of the individuals arrested and charged as an accessory after the fact and for obstruction of justice in relation to the July 7th shooting has been employed as a Community Health Worker at South Riverdale Community Health Centre since 2021 in Consumption and Treatment Services. This individual was placed on a leave for unrelated concerns on Wednesday, August 9, 2023. We continue to cooperate fully with the Toronto Police Service in this investigation and have no further details about this individual’s alleged involvement.
These allegations are deeply concerning to us and our community. They are also devastating and disappointing to the many SRCHC staff who work professionally and compassionately every day to deliver a range of essential health and wellbeing services to patients and clients in the area.
We remain focused on working in partnership with representation from residents, SafeTO, Toronto Police Services, and community organizations to strengthen local safety initiatives. We believe that we are making progress, including:
• Two meetings of the Safer Community Committee.
• Weekly meetings with local residents’ groups to identify safety challenges in Leslieville and generate recommendations to improve community safety in the neighbourhood that are meaningful and attainable.
• Contracting One Community Solutions security for the next year to increase safety and assist with crisis intervention around our location at 955 Queen St. E.
We welcome the announcement last week from the Ministry of Health of a critical incident review of consumption and treatment services sites in Ontario, beginning with the South Riverdale Community Health Centre. We will work closely with the Ministry. Our hope is that this initiative will help improve service delivery and support community safety.
Thank you to the local resident organizers of this week’s Town Hall Meeting
July 28, 2023
This week a Town Hall Meeting was held on Wednesday, June 26th at Jimmie Simpson. It was organized by local residents who chose the format and questions and invited the speakers. South Riverdale Community Health Centre wanted to take the opportunity to thank local resident organizers for the opportunity to attend and participate in the discussion. This is a first of many opportunities to listen and be a part of a dialogue to understand how we can all play a part in helping everyone to feel more safe. We are committed to working collaboratively as a part of the Safer Community Committee with residents, local businesses and community leaders to improve the health, safety and well-being of residents in the Leslieville neighbourhood. If you want to share your views and ideas about community safety, please contact our Safer Community Committee, by emailing [email protected].
Working together to address community safety issues
July 25, 2023
Over the last several months we have all witnessed the increased volatility and behaviour issues in our community. We know these troubling shifts in behaviour are being felt across Toronto as we witness the effects of poverty and homelessness compounded by a deepening mental health crisis and an increasingly toxic drug supply. All this is happening while our justice system, housing and mental health services are overwhelmed by those in need.
We also know that everyone should feel safe in their neighbourhood and that no one should die on our streets.
Like you, the South Riverdale Community Health Centre is contending with the feelings of fear and loss that have gripped the community following the tragic death of Karolina “Caroline” Huebner-Makurat.
As a team of healthcare providers dedicated to community well-being, we are committed to finding solutions and working with our community and government partners to identify actions that will help address these complex and urgent challenges.
To that end, we are updating you on the measures that South Riverdale Community Health Centre has taken and are asking for your help by continuing to identify local community safety concerns and advocate for real action.
Actions taken by South Riverdale Community Health Centre:
- Members of our medical staff were involved in the first response to the shooting on July 7th, administering emergency measures on the scene.
- We have engaged One Community Solutions, an alternative security company that provides Community Safety Teams trained to support the homeless population and those with substance use addiction or mental health challenges, to provide an on-going presence outside of our building, bringing expertise in maintaining public safety in a way that is respectful and supportive of all community members.
- We have met and will continue to meet with local groups that want to express their concerns or have ideas for supporting the health, safety and well-being of our community.
- We established a Safer Community Committee co-chaired by SRCHC and including representatives of SafeTO, Toronto Police Services, the Leslieville BIA, Queen Street East Presbyterian Church, and local residents.
What we’re doing next:
- Over the next two weeks, SRCHC representatives will knock on doors throughout our neighbourhood to gather community insights into local safety concerns. An online form will also be available on our website in the next 2 weeks.
- Our Safer Community Committee will review and publicly report these findings, and issue recommendations concerning community safety improvements within 90 days. To contact our Safer Community Committee, please email [email protected].
- We will continue to review and adapt our own facilities and procedures to maximize public safety and client wellbeing, including the installation of additional security cameras, and working with the Queen Street East Presbyterian Church to explore physical changes to the courtyard that could help improve community safety in the short and long term.
Grief counseling and related services are also being made available through the City of Toronto’s Community Crisis Response Team, who can be reached by contacting at Katherine Marhong at 437-331-2637 or [email protected].
Thank you for your commitment to this community and for your assistance as we work to improve public safety and continue to provide essential health services to our community.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO),
South Riverdale Community Health Centre
Statement from the SRCHC Board
July 10, 2023
We are horrified and saddened by the violence and loss of life that took place at Queen St. East and Carlaw Ave. on Friday, July 7. We grieve alongside the community, as Board members of the South Riverdale Community Health Centre, as community members, and as Torontonians. Our hearts go out to the family of the victim, as we mourn with our neighbours for our shared loss.
Our Community Health Centre has been part of the South Riverdale community for more than 45 years and serving people at this location for more than 25. We join others in being deeply troubled by this level of violence in our community. This terrible incident took place near our facility and has affected the whole community. To address those impacts and emerging needs, our team is committed to accelerating community safety activities, many of which were underway before this tragic event occurred.
We believe that a whole community response is necessary to improve safety, including neighbours, police, SafeTO, all levels of government, and local organizations. We recognize serious, violent crimes are issues that require action from all community partners.
As always, the health and wellbeing of the community is what matters to us the most.
• Continue our commitment to multi-service health delivery – Many people in Toronto rely on our team and its services. We hold responsibility to deliver these services as a beacon in a healthy and safe community. From essential health care and diabetes education to pregnancy and mental health programs to harm reduction services, we will continue to work with residents and partner organizations to deliver services in a way that prioritizes the health and safety of clients, staff and community.
• Engage a community safety team – In the immediate term, we are engaging a community safety team. This team will be positioned outside our facility at 955 Queen Street East from 6:00 am to midnight for the coming week. We have begun discussions with community members about the effectiveness of this approach and will continue to monitor and adapt this initiative.
• Establish a new Safe Community Committee – This committee’s purpose is to enhance and build on the work of Supervised Consumption Services Community Liaison Committee, which meets quarterly and includes community members, the BIA and other stakeholders. We are immediately striking a Board-led committee to work with the local police service, SafeTO representatives and other stakeholders – including local school leaders and residents. The committee will re-examine how our Consumption and Treatment Services intersect with police and other city divisions. The stakeholders on this committee will pursue all opportunities to strengthen coordination between these groups in the interest of public safety.
• Ensure meaningful community engagement – The Health Centre will continue to particpate in extensive and deep community discussions, town halls, and research over the summer to inform recommendations to the Safe Community Committee, management, and our community partners.
• Provide frequent news and updates – Our community-led Board will share regular updates about our progress with stakeholders and community members. We have a dedicated page on our website to share news and information www.srchc.ca/community-engagement.
If you would like to contact the Board, please email us at [email protected].