City Backs Homeless Hub Amid Mixed Reactions and Safety Concerns

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In a recent move, the Strategic Priorities and Policies Committee of the city council bestowed endorsement on the primary trio of homeless hub sites scattered throughout London. However, there’s one site in particular garnering a mix of concerns and apprehension.

There’s a rising chorus of discontent echoing from the North end where businesses and locals have flagged their worries. The Lighthouse Motel site, standing in uncomfortable proximity to a residential neighbourhood and children’s services, is on the chopping block to be repurposed as a hub for women and those identifying as female. The operation of the hub is expected to fall under the umbrella of the Canadian Mental Health Association in tandem with Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services.

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The proposal sparked criticism from TJ Robinson, a concerned parent questioning the potential safety implications, “It’s seemingly imprudent to situate the hub near a school or children’s playground. I’m not casting aspersions, but it’s no secret that there’s rampant drug use and sometimes violent behaviour associated with the homeless population.”

Robinson’s daughter, who is only four, attends the Thames Valley Children’s Centre (TVCC) just a stone’s throw away from the site under question. It serves as a haven providing therapeutic services for children with autism. Despite the mounting concerns, TVCC, which threw open its doors just a few weeks prior, has yet to raise any red flags. Paul Horwath, TVCC’s CEO supported City Council’s approach remarking, “housing is a human right and as a community, we need to back solutions for those experiencing chronic homelessness, including support for hubs across our city.”

On the flip side, residents of the Fox Hollow neighbourhood tucked behind the motel are voicing not just their concerns but paranoia about the proposed move. This sentiment is echoed by Dahval Motwani, “it’s shrouded in ambiguity and as family-focused individuals, there’s a tangible level of concern.”

Renovation is another hurdle the motel site faces before transitioning into a home hub, a fact Paul Bunagan, a local, says wasn’t made abundantly clear. His concerns bleeds into reservations about the decision-making process, seeking answers and transparency.

Corrine Rahman, Ward Councilor, advocates for the council to put the brakes on the hub location decision to allow ample time for due diligence, especially considering the presence of children who are beneficiaries of TVCC’s services and how this shift could stir the still waters.

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