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Proposed north London homeless hub location raises concerns

City council’s Strategic Priorities and Policies committee endorsed the first three homeless hub locations across London on Monday, but it’s one site in particular that’s raising alarm bells.

Businesses and residents in the north end say the current Lighthouse Motel site is too close to a residential neighbourhood and children’s services. It’s being proposed as a hub to serve women and those who identify as female. It would be operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association and Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services.

“It shouldn’t be near a public school or anywhere near where kids are playing,” said parent TJ Robinson. “Because I mean I’m not trying to judge every book by its cover but there is rampant drug use and sometimes violent and dangerous behaviour.”TVCC on Fanshawe Park Road West in London, Ont., on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London)

Robinson’s four-year-old daughter attends TVCC on Fanshawe Park Road West. It’s a treatment space for children with autism, and it’s just a stone’s throw away from the Lighthouse Inn. “These kids are, you know, learning delay and just getting to know the world,” said Robinson.

But TVCC itself, which opened just weeks ago, has not expressed concern at this point. In fact, in a statement to CTV News TVCC CEO Paul Horwath said “we support London City Council’s proactive and inclusive process to determining a path forward for our city. Housing is a human right, and we believe that as a community we need to support solutions to help people experiencing chronic and persistent homelessness, including support for the location of hubs across our city.”

Some residents in the Fox Hollow neighbourhood behind the motel are not as supportive. In fact, many are quite nervous about the city’s plan to address the homelessness crisis.

“I know they won’t be harmful but you never know, in our city,” said resident Dahval Motwani. “It’s quite a grey area, right? We as family people would definitely be concerned with that.”

The motel site would need to be rezoned to meet the city’s requirement as a homeless hub location. That’s something that wasn’t made clear says resident Paul Bunagan. “If zoning wasn’t for the first five hubs and we have to zone it, is it a right decision? That’s a question to be answered. As a community we are just asking questions and want to be informed.”

Ward Councillor Corrine Rahman maintains council should defer the decision on hub locations to allow for due diligence.

“We have children in the area that use TVCC services, and we need to consider what impacts, if any, there are with that location and any potential concerns.” Top Stories

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