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 “parkette” 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.

Jason Altenberg
Chief Executive Officer (CEO),
South Riverdale Community Health Centre

As members of the South Riverdale community for more than 45 years, SRCHC is committed to working with community members and stakeholders to improve the health, safety and well-being of our neighbourhood. To stay up-to-date with our safety strategies and statements from our Board, please visit our Community Engagement page.

Community Engagement Page