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Durham Region Non-Profit Housing responds after concerns are raised about Allan’s Place

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

BROCK: Durham Region Non-Profit Housing Corporation (DRNPH) has responded to remarks about Allan’s Place, made by Brock Township Ward 3 Councillor Walter Schummer at a meeting last week.

At the April 26th council meeting, Councillor Schummer brought up safety concerns, regarding the 50-unit residence building in Cannington, for seniors and people with disabilities.

“The seniors at Allan’s Place continue to be terrorized, and that is their word [to describe it], not mine. And it is happening by a handful of residents who moved there, who are not seniors, but no doubt suffer from substance abuse, mental health issues and possibly just a blatant disregard for their neighbours and the community they live in. Police calls are constant, and they continue.” Councillor Schummer also stated the issues at Allan’s Place “continue, and in some cases they are getting worse.”

“We are talking, trespassing through people’s units, and for the local government to hide behind the idea it is not a Region issue, it’s disgraceful,” Councillor Schummer said.

However, Durham Region Non-Profit Housing CEO Tracy Greig panned the councillor’s comments, and said DRNPH is working with the township and the councillor to clarify the issues raised.

“We feel some of Councillor Schummer’s comments were erroneous and misleading. We’re attempting to work with Councillor Schummer and the Township of Brock to clarify this, at this time,” she said.

Brock Township Mayor John Grant provided a statement on the issues raised about Allan’s Place.

“Brock Township and DRNPH communicate on a regular basis. Unfortunately, our attention is now drawn to incidents surrounding Allan’s Place. We will continue to work toward [resolving] any outstanding issues. We have a common goal of providing a safe environment for our seniors and residents of our community,” the emailed statement read.

Ms. Greig defended DRNPH’s reputation in the region.

“We have more than a 35 year history of proudly serving Durham Region’s diverse residents, by providing social and affordable rental housing units across 20 different properties. This includes six properties operating throughout the Township of Brock. Our track record is exemplary over this long history,” she said.

Ms. Greig explained, residents are encouraged to let the non-profit housing corporation know when they can’t “resolve issues with their neighbours.”

“We do take a proactive approach to work with our tenants on issues [which] arise. We work with tenants and members of the broader community to address issues when they make us aware of them.”

Councillor Schummer’s comments were made during a discussion on a petition, written by Allan Pepper.

“Immediately, when we received the copy of the petition, we reached out and had a conversation, an in person meeting with Mr. Pepper, as did our President and Chair of our board,” Ms. Greig said.

The DRNPH CEO pointed to the number of police calls, as one of the misleading areas of Councillor Schummer’s comments.

“I think we’ll all say yes, there have been police who have attended sites. But I think, with what he was alluding to, we can all agree having a disability, a mental illness or an addiction is not a crime. However, should there be incidents where the police, [firefighters] or [paramedics] are called, our superintendents are actively engaged on site. They are playing a valuable role in supporting the first responders in accessing the building and anything [else] they can do to assist,” Ms. Greig explained.

She added, the police calls could be for a myriad of reasons, including for welfare checks.

Overall, Ms. Greig assures residents Allan’s Place is a safe place to live.

“We always strive to provide a clean, well maintained housing facility [which] provides a healthy and safe environment for all tenants,” she stated. “Durham Region Non-Profit Housing encourages all tenants to share any issues or concerns they have with us.” Oshawa Mayor, and DRNPH Chair Dan Carter also responded to a comment made by Councillor Schummer about him.

At the meeting, Councillor Schummer alleged Mayor Carter “label[s] residents of Brock Township as Nimbies,” (residents who’s opinion is labelled with the acronym for ‘not in my backyard’) when they raise concerns about housing issues.

“I would like to state, at no time have I labelled the residents of Brock Township as Nimbies,” read an email from the Oshawa Mayor.

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