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Leslieville residents express concerns over proposed homeless shelter

Last Updated Jan 16, 2016 at 10:27 pm EDT

Leslieville residents vented their frustrations and aired their concerns over a proposed men’s homeless shelter that could be coming to their neighbhourhood.

The information meeting on Saturday saw local councillor Mary Margaret-McMahon seemingly overwhelmed at times by concerned citizens.

Just last week, Margaret-McMahon suggested that residents supported the shelter.

“I’m very proud of Leslieville they have a great attitude,” she said at the time. “They are very much proponents of mixed neighbourhoods. They are getting behind this.”

That didn’t seem to the case at Saturday’s meeting.

Many worried that the proposed 80-bed shelter at 29 Leslie Street would pose a safety concern.

“I have two small children and they go to a school that’s very close the shelter,” one mom said. “It poses some safety issues to the community. I’m angry that I haven’t been able to have more of a voice. I feel kind of blind-sided by what’s happening.”

“I think it’s more trouble than it’s worth,” another resident added. “I think the seniors are going to be uncomfortable. They are not going to feel like walking out at night.”

Others defended the shelter.

“It’s fear and fear is based on misunderstanding,” said Maureen Clohessy. “There isn’t anything to fear. These are people just like us, they just happen to be down and out.”

Council is expected to vote on the proposed site at its Feb 3 and 4 meetings.