New Community Crisis Services Pilot Programs, RapidTO Survey & COVID-19 Updates

Letter from Kristyn

To all those celebrating, Ramadan Mubarak! From my family to yours, I wish you four weeks filled with peace, harmony and joy. May the divine blessings continue to protect and guide you.

I continue to hear from residents who are concerned about the increasing COVID-19 cases, and I want to say that I hear and understand your concerns. When City Council supported the Medical Officer of Health’s recommendations not to extend the mask mandate, we were advised on the possibility of an increase in COVID-19 activity. The truth remains we are not post-pandemic – no matter how tired we may be and no matter how much we wish that it were so. Toronto is in a very different place – a better place – than we were at the start of the pandemic.

Over two years ago, our main tools for self-protection included physical distancing, socializing outdoors and mask use. Now, our ability to detect, safeguard against, manage, and treat COVID-19 has been changed significantly, and so the advice we are being given by Dr. de Villa has also changed. 

 

Right now, the most effective safeguard against the worst impacts of COVID-19 is to be vaccinated, and almost 90% of Toronto residents aged 12 and older have had two doses of the vaccine. This is a major reason that we have been able to reduce restrictions. Of course, we do know that a third dose of the vaccine increases your protection. In Ontario, data for cases 18 years of age and older, reported between February 17 and March 18, show that for those with one or fewer doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the rate of hospitalization was two and a half times higher – and the rate of ICU admission was almost five times higher – than individuals with three doses or more. 

So if you are eligible for a third dose and you have not yet gotten that, please get it now. If you're not up to date on your vaccine, please go get your next dose now. This is especially important for individuals who are older and have a weakened immune system. 

While it's true that individuals are no longer mandated to wear a mask in many settings, you can choose to continue to wear one, and I encourage you to do so, especially when indoors. Wear the best quality mask that you have access to, and ensure that it fits well. Wearing a mask is a simple thing that we can all do to help maintain our ability to see our loved ones and keep our hospitals safe. 

This week City Council will meet and debate a number of important issues for Ward 13. Firstly, although the City of Toronto was not successful in their initial bid for strategic acquisition of lands to support city-building, I will continue advocating that the City take steps to expropriate the lands at 214-230 Sherbourne Street to build affordable housing. It was always a key piece to activating the rebuilding of the Dan Harrison Community Complex and revitalization plans for a safer and healthier Sherbourne and Dundas neighbourhood. The report explaining this initiative can be found here

The property at 214-230 Sherbourne St. has sat vacant for over 10 years while the ravages of the housing and homelessness crisis decimate a community outside its doors. A 30 room house should not be left vacant while people freeze to death outside. Expropriating the lands at 214-230 Sherbourne for deeply affordable housing is exactly the kind of rapid housing initiative that the Province, the Federal Government and the City have said they support. This is the moment we must all come together and treat housing affordability as the crisis it is.

City Council will also be looking at the plan to wind down the emergency shelter hotels. The current proposal recommends extending the leases on many of the shelter hotels through 2022, in order to allow time to acquire more permanent housing opportunities for residents. Without a pathway to permanent housing, those discharged from the shelter hotels will most likely find their way back into overcrowded and unsafe shelters and encampments. The shelter hotel programs are not financially sustainable in the long run and it is my intention to continue advocating for a faster timeline to acquire new permanent housing and return these critical hotels back to the tourism economy.

Lastly, yesterday my dear friend and colleague MPP Suze Morrison announced she would not be seeking a second term as Member of Provincial Parliament for Toronto Centre. Suze Morrison is a remarkable leader in our community. Her tenacity to get hard things done is a moving inspiration for many. I want to thank Suze for her hard work, effective collaboration and hearted-filled friendship.

Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.

Kristyn


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What’s In Today’s EBlast?

  • New Community Crisis Services Pilot Programs 
  • RapidTO: Bus and Streetcar Priority
  • Friends of Corktown Common: Designing a Living Natural System
  • Earth Day Park and Neighbourhood Clean Up
  • St. Lawrence Market Job Fair

New Community Crisis Services Pilot Programs

The new service, which is person-centred and trauma-informed, focuses on harm reduction. It will be geographically-based and operate in areas of Toronto where there is a demonstrated need and calls for people in crisis are the highest.

The Toronto Community Crisis Service, led in partnership with community partners, will be launched in the northeast and downtown east areas of the city. The service will:

  • Feature mobile multidisciplinary teams of trained crisis support specialists (e.g. community health nurses, crisis counsellors, harm reduction workers, peer workers)

  • Initially operate 24 hours a day, six days a week, Sunday to Friday and move to a 24 hours a day, seven days a week operation
    .
  • Provide case management support including follow-up support, primary health care, referrals, holistic support, trauma counselling, housing and other individualized supports.

The downtown east pilot, led by Gerstein Crisis Centre, launched on March 31.

To learn more about the service, visit www.Toronto.ca/CrisisService.


RapidTO: Bus and Streetcar Priority

Have your say on the prioritization of roadways to be studied for future transit enhancement by completing the RapidTO: Bus & Streetcar Priority online survey by April 20 and attending one of five virtual public meetings.

During Phase 1, the TTC asked you what your priorities are for improving bus and streetcar service. They heard from 5,200 survey respondents and the feedback received helped them to evaluate key roadways and identify which roadways would benefit most from transit priority solutions over the next 10 years.

The TTC is now looking for your feedback on the list of roadways to be prioritized for study, consultation, and installation over the next 10 years.

There are a variety of ways you can learn more about the project and provide feedback:

  1. Review the consultation materials.
  2. Fill out the feedback form by April 20, 2022.
  3. Register to attend a virtual public meeting.

Contact the RapidTO Project Team at [email protected] or 416-338-7797.


Friends of Corktown Common: Designing a Living Natural System

Join a talk by Waterfront Toronto and Michael Van Valkenberg Associates about the very special design and stewardship of Corktown Common.

When: Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Time: 7:00p.m. to 8:00p.m. 
Where: Microsoft Teams link here


Earth Day Park and Neighbourhood Clean Up

Join Friends of Corktown Common, Friends of Regent Park, and the Corktown Resident and Business Association to pick up litter from parks and neighbourhood as part of Clean Toronto Together. 

When: Sunday, April 23, 2022
Time: 10:00a.m. to 11:00a.m. 
Where: Corktown Common or Sumach-Shuter Parkette

Connect with FoCC by email: [email protected]


St. Lawrence Market Job Fair

In advance of a revitalized spring and summer season, many St. Lawrence Market merchants are in the process of hiring full-time and part-time positions. To support the merchants and work together on the success of Market businesses, the City of Toronto will host a job fair this Thursday.

 St. Lawrence Market job fair details:

When: Thursday, April 7
Time: 9:00a.m. to 1:00p.m. and 4:00p.m. to 7:00p.m.
Where: The Temporary Market, 125 The Esplanade

Toronto residents who are interested in a position at the St. Lawrence Market can drop in for the job fair during these two time slots. Merchants will accept resumés and conduct interviews on-site for part-time and full-time positions including cashiers, raw food and prepared food sales, culinary support, and customer service positions. Various shifts will be available. 

More information about the St. Lawrence Market Job Fair is available at www.stlawrencemarket.com and by email at [email protected]


Explore Your Neighbourhoods

Explore Your Neighbourhoods promotional graphic.Explore Your Neighbourhoods graphic.

Every day we walk through our own neighbourhoods and local streets, visiting parks, friends, and businesses. We each travel the city in different ways; walking, cycling, or taking public transit. We visit our nearby coffee shop to meet friends, or the clinic when we feel sick. We take advantage of community greenspace and cycle through neighbourhoods. When we travel the city, we consider the social determinants of health, including access to healthcare and housing, disability, gender, and gender identity, to name a few. All of this and more contribute to our own wellness and that of our neighbourhoods. 

You can now explore the ongoing projects and major initiatives in your communities made by your Ward 13 team! Learn more at KristynWongTam.ca/Neighbourhoods!


COVID-19: Vaccine Information 

For updates about Toronto’s vaccination rollout and booking system, please visit my website.

Book an appointment at a City-operated vaccination clinic by phone through the provincial call centre, 1-888-999-6488.

Book an appointment at a City-operated vaccination clinic online at www.toronto.ca/covid-19. For online bookings, you will need: 

  • Information found on your Government of Ontario photo health card;
  • Birthdate;
  • Postal code; and
  • Email address or phone number.

The provincial system will verify your eligibility to book an appointment for vaccination based on this information and will then guide you to the scheduling system. 

Please do not call 311 or Toronto Public Health to book an appointment. The City 311 contact centre and Toronto Public Health staff do not have access to the booking system.


Vaccinated Against COVID-19? What Does It Mean For Me?

By getting vaccinated, you benefit from the protection you get against COVID-19 and the easing of restrictive measures in your community. You still need to follow local public health advice in public settings (e.g. workplaces, public transit). Their advice considers community risk levels. 

A majority of people in Canada have now had their first shot and many will soon be fully vaccinated. Below is a handy chart created by Public Health Canada to inform your actions depending on your vaccination status. This advice is based on the current state and will be updated as vaccination rates continue to increase and cases decrease.


COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread

As we begin to again restrengthen our public health measures, we will all continue to live in this new normal. Wearing a mask or a face covering is mandatory in all public indoor spaces and on the TTC. Our commitment must be to continue minimizing the impact of COVID-19, especially on our most vulnerable residents, while reducing negative social, economic, and broader health impacts on our community. In the coming months what this means for our residents is:

  • Continuing to work remotely, wherever possible;
  • Maintaining physical distance from people outside our household or social circle/bubble;
  • Avoiding crowds and congregations in closed indoor settings;
  • Wearing a cloth mask or face covering in any public indoor setting, including stores, transit, offices; and where
  • physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Staying home whenever we are sick for any reason.

Thank you for doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help protect our communities. For more tips on social distancing, please visit the City’s website or download this info sheet.


COVID-19 Information and Resources

Now is the time to stay informed through credible sources, and to follow the advice of our public health professionals. Together we can limit the spread of COVID-19.

Phone lines for telehealth, TPH and 311 continue to experience very high volumes. Please help keep the phones lines open for people who are sick by visiting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 website for up-to-date information and resources: toronto.ca/covid-19

Telehealth Ontario
Call if you develop symptoms!
Telephone: 1-866-797-0000

Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Telephone: 416-338-7600
TTY: 416-392-0658
Email: [email protected]

311 Toronto
311 provides residents, businesses and visitors with easy access to non-emergency City services, programs and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 311 can offer assistance in more than 180 languages.
Telephone: 311
Website 
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489

Support for People Living with Homelessness

If you see someone living with homelessness and in need of support you can call Streets to Homes at 416-338-4766. For mental health support, the Gerstein Crisis Centre is a valuable 24-hours a day, seven days a week service in our community and they have crisis workers on standby at 416-929-5200. More resources, including additional how to report information, are available on my website at kristynwongtam.ca.

Toronto Police

If you or someone else is confronted with life-threatening danger, please call 911 immediately. Alternatively, the Toronto Police request that online reports be submitted at torontopolice.on.ca/core or to torontopolice.on.ca/community-complaints. You can also call their non-emergency line at 416-808-2222. 

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