October 18th, 2009
On September 19, 2009 the Toronto Star carried the article, Al Gosling is now homeless at 82. Written by City Columnist Joe Fiorito , we learned how the Toronto Community Housing Corporation evicted the 82-year old and he’d been without a place to live since June.
“He said, ‘I came home one day. They’d changed the locks. When I couldn’t get in, I looked around for a place to stay. I found a place under the stairway.'”
Since September 19th, Torstar’s Joe Fiorito detailed Al Gosling’s plight in a series of articles.
We read that Gosling got sick. Gosling got hospitalized. Gosling got worse.
We read how Gosling died over Thanksgiving.
And then the Toronto Star carried this October 15, 2009 editorial.
Published On Thu Oct 15 2009
They were too late. On finding himself locked out, Gosling had lived for a week in a stairwell of the building that held his old apartment. He was then taken to a homeless shelter, became gravely ill, and ended up at Toronto General Hospital, where he died of an infection over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Officials at the Toronto Community Housing Corp. eventually sorted out Gosling’s status, found a new place for him, and issued a statement saying: “We hope he is able to come home soon.”
The final months of Al Gosling’s life were grim – full of hardships made all the more difficult because they were so unnecessary. The 82-year-old was evicted from his subsidized bachelor apartment in June after failing to keep up with paperwork verifying his low-income status. He never made it back.
See that reference to the Toronto Community Housing Corporation?
The Toronto Community Housing Corporation first drew my attention back in November 2008 as part of the McMurtry/Curling Review of the Roots of Youth Violence Report.
The McMurtry/Curling Report record consultations with the following Toronto Community Housing employees in Volume 3: Community Perspectives Report Section 2: Neighbourhood Insight Sessions — Appendix: Participant List page 101.
Toronto Community Housing (Orton Park), Property Manager
Toronto Community Housing, Community Worker
Toronto Community Housing, Head of Security
Toronto Community Housing, Health Promotion Officer
Toronto Community Housing, Manager
Toronto Community Housing, Recreation Coordinator
Of course my interest was in their Security operations.
This morning I decided to check out the Toronto Community Housing Corporation website just for a surf-around.
On October 9, 2009 while 82-year old Al Gosling, the former tenant that they kicked out into the streets was in hospital on life support, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation trumpeted this Brag-release onto their website:
October 9, 2009
On October 8, 2009, Toronto Community Housing was publicly recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2010. Maclean’s magazine This is the second year in a row that we have been recognized for our commitment to a safe and healthy workplace.
This award reaffirms that we continue to be on the right track to attract and retain the quality people we need to help continue building great neighbourhoods. But our work is not done. Through the tireless efforts of the Healthy Workplace and the Joint Health and Safety teams, we continue to improve the health and well-being of our staff each and every day.
Well, their employees sure are superbly taken care of…
The Toronto Community Housing Corporation website continues (a direct cut-and-paste):
Here are some of the benefits that were part of the reason why Toronto Community Housing was selected at a Top 100 Employer for 2010:
- provides excellent parental leave top-up benefits to adoptive and new mothers (to 93% of salary for 52 weeks) as well as new fathers (to 93% of salary for 37 weeks)
- offers employees generous compassionate care leave top-up benefits (to 93% of salary for 8 weeks)
- recently introduced a new healthy workplace plan, whose initiatives include an employee walking club, free health clinics, and lunch and learn sessions on a variety of wellness topics
- starts new employees at three weeks vacation
- offers a variety of in-house training initiatives and supports continuing education through tuition subsidies (to $1,000) for courses at outside institutions
How often has MISSISSAUGAWATCH been saying that the interests, comfort and convenience of municipal employees come first, last and everything in-between?
For the record the fact that the Toronto Community Housing wins Canada’s Top 100 Employer Award for 2010 press release was posted October 9, 2009 while Al Gosling was on life support fighting an infection even surpasses the obscene callousness that I’ve documented at City of Mississauga to date.
And check out the Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s latest press release:
October 13, 2009
Acting CEO Keiko Nakamura expresses sadness at death of tenant, announces independent third-party review of the organization’s response and broader factors that put vulnerable tenancies at risk.
See that reference to “independent third-party review”? Time to read more… interspersed with my commentary:
Toronto Community Housing Acting CEO Keiko Nakamura today responded to the death of tenant Al Gosling.
“It is with great sadness that Toronto Community Housing has learned about the death of Al Gosling. Mr. Gosling had a home to return to at Toronto Community Housing, and we regret he wasn’t able to come home. On behalf of Toronto Community Housing, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Mr. Gosling’s family and friends for this loss,” Nakamura said.
Nakamura announced that the organization will hold an independent third-party review of the organization’s response and the broader factors that can put vulnerable tenancies in jeopardy.
If Nakamura is really serious, why isn’t she immediately inviting the Ontario Ombudsman’s Office to conduct that independent third-party review into Al Gosling’s death?
The press release continues:
“Social housing plays a crucial role, providing quality housing for low- and moderate-income households and creating conditions that maximize resiliency and reduce risk. For that reason, it is absolutely crucial that the public have confidence in the integrity of the system and have confidence in housing providers like us,” Nakamura said.
Nakamura’s “it is absolutely crucial that the public have confidence in the integrity of the system” is standard public sector “we care” noise.
“Toronto Community Housing is an open, transparent organization. We have made a commitment to review this sad situation to ensure this organization is doing everything it can to make every tenancy a successful tenancy, especially for vulnerable tenants. It is my hope that the independent, third-party review will shed a light on the response to Mr. Gosling’s situation as well as the broader policy, legislative and regulatory factors that need to be considered,” she said.
And if the Toronto Community Housing Corporation is as open, transparent and committed to make every tenancy as successful tenancy, they’ll have the circumstances surrounding Al Gosling’s death investigated by the Ontario Ombudsman.
The leader of the review will be announced in the near future
Either way, that’ll be one of the books…
When you read the October 16, 2009 article, “Fiorito: Coroner to investigate Al Gosling’s sad death” you soon realize it isn’t just Al Gosling. Joe Fiorito lists more Toronto Community Housing Corporation victims of neglect and despair.
Now let me take the long view of such sadness: It is sad that Janos Buda died in his TCHC apartment and was not found for six months. It is sad that Dirty George lived for years in filth before he also died.
It is sad that no one helped that poor woman who, for months, wandered the halls of her apartment building covered in her own waste. It is sad that the woman whose apartment was flooded with several inches of raw sewage did not get immediate help. And yes, it is sad that Lorraine Misurka was handed a notice of eviction not long before Al died.
Finally, it is enduringly sad that many TCHC buildings are falling apart, and many of those buildings are infested with bedbugs, rats, roaches and mice.
Yes, but on the bright side, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation employees are flourishing two years in a row as Toronto Community Housing wins Canada’s Top 100 Employer Award for 2010!
Al Gosling deserves the Ontario Ombudsman
So I sent off an email to the Toronto Community Housing Corporation cc’d to Toronto Star’s Joe Fiorito. I reproduce it here for the record.
From: MISSISSAUGA WATCH <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Toronto Community Housing announces independent review of tenant death
Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Sunday, October 18, 2009, 8:21 AM
|Hi there,First of all, congratulations for your October 9, 2009 press release, Toronto Community Housing wins Canada’s Top 100 Employer Award for 2010, –your second win in a row, as you (quote) “continue to improve the health and well-being of our staff each and every day.”
I’m writing about your October 13, 2009 press release, Toronto Community Housing announces independent review of tenant death It states that Toronto Community Housing “will hold an independent third-party review of the organization’s response and the broader factors that can put vulnerable tenancies in jeopardy.”
The press release then goes on to state that, “Toronto Community Housing is an open, transparent organization. We have made a commitment to review this sad situation to ensure this organization is doing everything it can to make every tenancy a successful tenancy, especially for vulnerable tenants.”
It even quotes Acting CEO Keiko Nakamura as saying “It is my hope that the independent, third-party review will shed a light on the response to Mr. Gosling’s situation as well as the broader policy, legislative and regulatory factors that need to be considered.”
It’s quite the let-down then that the press release ends with the statement, “The leader of the review will be announced in the near future”.
I’m thoroughly disappointed not to read what to me is the obvious. Something like, “To demonstrate our commitment to openness and transparency we’ve invited the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate and shed a light on the response to Mr. Gosling’s situation as well as the broader policy, legislative and regulatory factors that need to be considered.”
Al Gosling deserves the Ontario Ombudsman and I’ve confirmed that Mr. Marin’s team of SORT investigators respond to requests/invitations for independent, third-party review by MUSH sector agencies.
The (GIVE THE ONTARIO OMBUDSMAN FULL INVESTIGATIVE AUTHORITY INTO THE MUSH SECTOR!) Mississauga Muse