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May 29, 2002
New emergency response partnership supports rooming house tenants coping with fire, hazards or unsafe living conditions
  
At an event today, a team of community organizations and City of Toronto
departments launched the Rooming House Emergency Response Protocol. This
partnership establishes policies, procedures and a chain of command in response
to emergencies that require the evacuation of residents.

The protocol operates with the co-operation and support of the City of Toronto,
WoodGreen Community Centre, the Canadian Red Cross, The Salvation Army and the
Critical Incident Group, a team of community and municipal staff. These
agencies are accountable for the lead response and follow-up during a rooming
house emergency.

The protocol's priorities are:
- immediate tenant safety
- providing emergency food and shelter
- access to social services and supports
- assistance with long-term housing
- resettlement (if required) into new communities

Tenants in rooming houses often have few resources to draw upon in an
emergency, and any disruption in their housing can lead to homelessness and
reliance on the shelter system. To avoid these options, a team of community
organizations and City of Toronto departments and services has worked together
to create a co-ordinated system where displaced tenants have access to the
resources they need to remain housed. This team also works to ensure that
tenants have access to legal, counselling, financial and other services they
need during emergencies such as fires.

The protocol is a work in progress. It will be reviewed and updated regularly
to ensure that the co-ordinated activities of the communities and municipal
partners continue to meet the ever-changing needs of rooming and boarding house
tenants across Toronto.

Media contacts:
Rosemary Bennett, Community and Neighbourhood Services, 416-392-8386

Laura Byers, Canadian Red Cross, Toronto Region, 416-480-2500, ext. 2253

Jane Rogers, WoodGreen Community Centre, 416-469-5211, ext. 1110


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