In 2017, I hosted our first-ever Healthy Neighbourhood Summit, which brought together 150 residents, businesses, social service agencies and City of Toronto staff to tackle some of Toronto’s challenging health and safety conditions. From the participation of residents and community leaders, we developed the landmark 12-month Immediate Downtown East Action Plan, and then the Five-Year Downtown East Action Plan, approved by City Council this summer.
Since then, with the ward boundaries redrawn our new Ward 13 Toronto Centre has doubled in size. Despite the significant efforts to improve our neighbourhoods, the impacts of systemic problems due to a lack of affordable housing, insufficient social and health supports for individuals living with mental health and addictions continue to take a toll on our neighbourhood. As you know, these systemic challenges are felt most heavily in downtown parks and on local streets.
Over the course of the last two years, much of our work has focused on tackling these large systemic challenges, pushing forward the Five-Year Downtown East Action Plan, and working across City divisions to address the health and safety of the Downtown East, while demanding that the Provincial and Federal governments help to confront the larger systemic issues. Much of which are not municipally mandated services but actually legislated areas that fall to the responsibility of other orders of government, namely the provincial and federal.
This fall, I will be hosting five new community-focused Healthy Neighbourhood Forums throughout the new Ward 13. Invited expert speakers will share important information on the social determinants of health and provide updates regarding the work taking place to tackle complex social challenges. Facilitated roundtable discussions will provide residents with an opportunity to highlight the challenges they are facing in their local community. I know each neighbourhood has a unique voice and faces unique challenges. I look forward to hearing from you and continuing to work on meaningful solutions that advance equity, health and safety in our Ward 13 Toronto Centre.
Please attend whichever venue and date are most convenient for you. All venues are wheelchair accessible.