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cityscape

Finding New Homes for the Tenants Above Jilly’s

Developer helps residents of the New Broadview Hotel locate affordable alternative housing.

Jilly's, with the New Broadview Hotel above  scarboroughcruiser from the Torontoist Flickr pool

Jilly’s strip club, with the New Broadview Hotel above. Photo by scarboroughcruiser from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

Performers at Jilly’s put on one last show Sunday night before the infamous Queen Street East strip club closed down for good. The remaining 13 tenants of the New Broadview Hotel above are vacating the building, too—by fall, they’ll be in new homes.

The new owner of the property, Streetcar Developments, has partnered with the City of Toronto and WoodGreen Community Services, a non-profit social services agency, to find affordable places for the hotel’s long-term, low-income residents to live.

Two of Streetcar employees have worked individually with each tenant on an almost daily basis. Les Mallins, the company’s founder, told Torstar News Service that for most residents, the biggest barrier to moving out was an inability to save up first and last months’ rent. Many of the tenants were without telephone and Internet access—another major impediment to apartment hunting—and those who for years hadn’t filed income tax found they could not qualify for City rental subsidies, having no proof of their low income.

Streetcar has provided money to tenants for their first and last months’ rent, and will cover the cost of moving, too. The company has also agreed to provide WoodGreen with money to hire a pair of staff members, who will help find accommodations for the remaining hotel residents—a challenging task in a city seemingly bereft of affordable housing, especially in the downtown area—and offer them additional support over the next year.

So far, Streetcar has not announced any specific plans for their new property, which stands at the corner of Broadview and Queen, although they have no intention of turning the 120-year-old building into a condo development.

Comments

  • atomicnumbermuncher

    Seems like it’s going smoother than the mess at the Gladstone.

  • Notcleverguy

    WoodGreen Community Services does good work.

  • wallywhack

    Perhaps this is a best case scenario, all things considered. Better than doing nothing, I suppose. That said, how about an annual philanthropic gift of 2% of revenues, coupled with activism at city hall to assist efforts to create and maintain affordable housing rates? Helping these people in their time of need is great, but in the end, what responsibility has the owner taken for being part of the problem? Poor people are still being pushed out of their neighbourhood into another, exacerbating their own poverty and that of the lesser neighbourhood they’re forced to move to.

  • Chris

    I say good for the developer for showing more compassion for those folks who lived above Jilly’s then the previous owner ever did. That would be the same previous owner who allowed the building to fall into such disrepair that it had be deemed unfit for human habitation after the sale. The same previous owner who allowed those low income residents to live in filthy squalor (to the point where one resident was dead for a week before anyone even noticed) but yet never failed to collect his $500/month. The same previous owner who, after neglecting the building to the point where it was almost falling down, then promptly sold the building to a developer, took his millions in windfall profits and ran off leaving the buyer/developer to deal with those displaced residents that he never bothered to show any real concern for while he owned the place.

  • Dave

    Probably because access to income sources outside of regular jobs is near impossible beyond the core and access to public transit is an exercise in diminishing returns the further you get.

    • nevilleross

      Also because everybody has a right to live in the downtown core of Toronto (rich or poor) and because the suburbanized parts of Toronto are a cultural dead zone where not much happens, thus leaving people cut off from the city they live in and shut in all of the time.