City doing all it can for displaced Parliament Street tenants, mayor says
Tory says he’s personally involved in search for accommodations
Mayor John Tory says the city is doing all it can to help those displaced by the fire at 650 Parliament Street to find new accommodations and he is personally involved in the search for housing.
"Finding apartments and other hotel rooms is a challenge for us, but we are addressing the challenge," the mayor told reporters at Rose Avenue Junior Public School on Saturday.
Tory, however, stressed that it is the landlord's responsibility to find residents a new place to stay but that the city is helping to get those affected into housing.
"If there's a cost involved, we are going to send [the landlord] a bill." he added. "If they don't pay the bill, we're going to add it to their property taxes or commence legal action."
About 700 residents displaced by the six-alarm blaze last week have been staying in hotels, but residents were told they would have to check out for the Labour Day weekend because the hotels were largely booked, according to the city.
Nahom Abadi is among the displaced residents and says he is concerned about where his family is going to stay. They were forced to leave the hotel they were staying in yesterday, he said, and will only be able to stay at their current inn until Sept. 22.
"My wife ... is nine months pregnant — a high risk pregnancy," Abadi said. "She will definitely have the baby before 22 of September, and we are going to have our kid in a motel."
Tory said efforts to find accommodations for those affected by the fire have yielded some good results. He estimated that there may be about 250 apartments, suites and rooms for those displaced, but said many people are still without adequate accommodations.
The mayor said the focus now is to get about 50 people who were housed in a community centre on Friday night into better housing and is asking for those who have properties to help out.
"Anybody that takes one of these people in, I think, will enjoy the experience immensely and will find it an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding thing to do because they will make a family happy," Tory said.
Community efforts praised
Tory also praised the efforts of the community to provide clothing for those affected by the fire. Within hours, thousands of shirts, hundreds of gift cards and thousands of dollars were donated, he said.
"By 36 hours, we probably had enough to accommodate the initial commitment, which was a set of clothing and shoes for every child," he said.
On Saturday, young children displaced by the blaze were given clothing and school supplies ahead of the new school year. Each person in a family was allowed to take 20 items, the mayor added.
"I want to say thank you to the people of Toronto. They never surprise me," Tory said.
"It's a delight to see .. other Torontonians step up right away and help big time."
With files from Ryan Patrick Jones and Natalie Nanowski