Mon. Nov 29th, 2021

The East Scarborough Storefront, a cornerstone of the Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park community for 20 years, has been named the site of a City of Toronto Housing Now project, meaning a new location must be found.

The East Scarborough Storefront, a resource center rooted in the Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park (KGO) community, may soon be displaced by new housing.

The city of Toronto has proposed a Housing Now site on property that contains the building at 4040 Lawrence Ave. E., a home for 35 partner organizations that help people with job search and other vital support.

If The Storefront moves – something that is not expected in two or three years – it is possible that it will return to the property, says CEO Sahar Vermezyari.

Wherever it ultimately goes, Vermezyari is convinced that KGO residents will be partners in designing homes on the property and a new storefront.

“We do not want to speak for them. We want them to be at the table to speak for themselves,” she said.

Founded in the now-defunct Morningside Mall 20 years ago, The Storefront soon moved west to a former Toronto police station. Holding cells were removed as community members helped redesign the building.

The city still owns the 1.2 acres of land, which includes basketball courts and community gardens, and advertised it as a Phase 3 Housing Now site.

Vermezyari, who joined The Storefront in June, said the city has promised to minimize disruption to services and programs, and community involvement in the process will begin with a community meeting in early 2022.

Meanwhile, The Storefront invites residents with questions to email them at info@thestorefront.org or call 416-208-9889.

The store front grew into a community convener and connection that launched projects based on ideas the residents had.

The pandemic closed the building until this July, but partner agencies continued to connect people to services virtually and by phone, Vermezyari said.

“The map of everyone’s work, including our partners, has changed,” she added.

“We do a lot of food work right now – cooking, deliveries to people who need it.”

Housing Now development promises a mix of market rentals and others that are affordable for “essential” workers and geared to households earning between $ 21,000 and $ 68,000 a year.

In a blog post to followers, The Storefront said it understood “this news will bring a range of emotions up into the community” for anyone who feels connected to the building.

“As an organization, The Storefront supports the creation of more affordable housing in the neighborhood; we also recognize that The Storefront is a vital community asset with a continuing role to play in the community, ”the post states.

The city has proposed another Housing Now site at 40 Bushby Dr., a 1.7-acre property opposite McCowan Station on the Scarborough Rapid Transit line, which is scheduled to close in 2023.

A report to Toronto City Council said the eastern part of the site could become a public park.

On November 22, the municipality also approved developers for the Housing Now site next to Victoria Park Station at 777 Victoria Park Ave., which is expected to begin construction in the summer of 2022.

At least 508 apartments, including 254 cheap apartments, will be built on the two-hectare plot, as well as a new childcare center, retail and common areas.

Developers have also been selected for a Housing Now project north of Warden Station at 705 Warden Ave., which will also expand Warden Hilltop Park, re-naturalize land adjacent to Taylor Massey Creek, create new public streets and include some retail space. and a new child care center. Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2022.

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