The province must address problem of unlicensed homes offering services to vulnerable residents, Mayor Tory says

Mayor John Tory said it’s up to the province to provide more space for those in need of supportive housing amid concerns over unlicensed group homes operating within the city.“It’s not acceptable for people to be living in sort of deplorable, unsafe, unhealthy conditions like that,” Tory told the Star. “We would certainly hope no hospital is in any way involved in discharging people to places that have been described the way your story sets out.”His comments follow a Star story Monday that revealed an OPP probe that focused on two people operating homes in Scarborough. Police cited complaints and documentation of unsanitary living conditions including overcrowding, the stench of human feces, dead mice, a lack of qualified staff and “inadequate food supply” — conditions officials described as “deplorable.”The OPP investigation also found hospitals and community groups are referring people to the unlicensed homes without adequate alternatives.The provincial Long Term Homes Care Act sets out that “no person shall operate a residential premises for persons requiring nursing care or in which nursing care is provided to two or more unrelated persons.”Article Continued BelowBut ministry and police officials came to a “consensus,” according to an OPP brief obtained by the Star’s Betsy Powell, that enforcing the law would “result in significant harm to vulnerable disadvantaged people who have no other alternative housing options available.” “The real issue at the nub of this is the lack of availability of what we call assistive or supportive housing,” Tory said, adding that is the province’s responsibility and nobody wants to see anyone put out on the street.Tory said the city is adhering to its responsibilities to make sure buildings are up to code and free from fire safety violations through inspections and enforcement.