City of Toronto has charged a man who built insulated homes for the homeless

Khaleel Seivwright, a carpenter from Toronto, was building insulated homes for the homeless until the city issued a lawsuit and a permanent restraining order to stop him from building structures on city property
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Khaleel Seivwright, a carpenter from Toronto, has been building temporary shelters for the homeless in Toronto. However, the City of Toronto has responded to Seivwrite with a lawsuit, and requested a permanent restraining order against Seivwright that would legally stop him from “placing and/ or relocating structures on City-owned land”. 

Seivwright has been building temporary shelters, insulated with a fire and carbon monoxide detector and a fire extinguisher. Seeing the rise in homelessness, he wanted to do something about it. 

Homes First Society estimates that 8,700 people in Toronto are homeless, thousands are on the list for supportive housing and many more are experiencing “hidden homelessness.”

Over 30 per cent of Toronto’s homeless have mental health issues, and over 25 per cent live with addiction. The average cost of a Toronto shelter bed during COVID-19 pandemic is $6,000 a month. 

PHOTO: Courtesy of Homes First Society

The 2021 Shelter, Support & Housing Administration (SSHA) stated that the budget for COVID-19 related expenditures is $276.3 million. 

The report states $59.64 million was spent on hotels and other open spaces in 2020. In 2021, SSHA estimated that it will spend $103.19 million on hotels and other spaces.

The issue with spending $103.19 million on hotels is that they provide a temporary fix. Homes First Society stated that about 94 per cent of those experiencing homelessness in Toronto want permanent housing. 

Doug Johnson Hatlem, who works with Sanctuary Ministries of Toronto told CBC that the city staff are lying about the number of beds available in the shelters. Hatlem said there aren’t enough vacant beds. 

There are also concerns of safety inside the shelters. Some people who fear for their safety, have animals who can not be taken in or do not want their belongings to be stolen have no choice but sleep outside. 

“Toronto’s emergency shelters are too often at capacity. People tell me they have nowhere to go. The money the City is spending to attack me could be put into safe housing for those that need it. This pandemic has been a nightmare – particularly for those who don’t have a home. For those who relied on a 24-hour Tim Hortons or McDonalds to get out of the cold. For those who call into the shelter system over and over and can’t find a safe place to sleep.”

Seivwright

If you would like to help Seivwright or assist in any way you may contact: 

Legal Representatives:

Samara Secter   t : 416-649-5063 e : ssecter@addario.ca 

Danny Kastner   t : 416-655-3044 x1 e : dkastner@kastnerlam.com 

Vinidhra Vaitheeswaran t : 416-655-3044 x10 e : vvaitheeswaran@kastnerlam.com

Wiki Production Code: A0669

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