It was supposed to be a safe, affordable home for Ontarians with nowhere else to go. But inside, it was horrifying.
Now, it’s a symbol of the growing violence on the streets of Canada’s cities.
Four people died inside this apartment building last month — it’s one of dozens that have turned into a murder trap, where people are often shot when they try to escape.
The deaths, which happened just weeks after the building first opened, were just the most recent of a string of tragedies.
It’s one of the worst examples yet of how precarious housing conditions have made Toronto’s citywide homicide rate the highest in the country.
And like the deadly apartment building on the city’s west side, the city’s police are not doing enough to get a grip on the problem.
From January to October, 1,984 people were killed in Toronto. That’s almost four a day and an increase of more than 14 per cent from the same period last year, according to police statistics.
The number of residents killed was much higher, since about 300 more people were reported as a victim of homicide in October than in the previous year.
At least one-third of homicide victims are people of colour, while nearly 40 per cent are LGBTQI2S.
The violence often takes place at the intersection of homelessness, poverty, and poverty.
For many victims of homicide, it’s a daily struggle not just to survive, but to survive at all.
Most of those who live in these precarious housing situations can’t access emergency shelter. And it’s common for victims to struggle to find emergency financial assistance once the police take them into custody.
“I have to pay $400 to the police to come take me into custody because I don’t have anywhere to go. And even if the police come to take me, I pay them $200,” said a homeless individual named Adrienne.
“I pay $400 to the police, and