The Scarborough carpenter in charge of the Toronto Tiny Shelters project to accommodate homeless people in public parks has requested that the city drop the injunction application to prevent him from building the wooden shelters.
While reading from a written statement in a video posted on YouTube, Seivwright Khaleel said: “With winter approaching, I knew that without shelter people would die as they do in Toronto every year.
“I started building Tiny Shelters so some of the most vulnerable would have somewhere warm to go.”
Seivwright described Toronto’s legal action as a “distraction,” and argued that the money expended on the case should be channelled to provision of safe housing.
He said: “The problem is that Toronto’s most vulnerable people are falling through the cracks. Toronto shelters are too often at capacity.
“People tell me they have nowhere to go. It’s February. The city should not be removing or destroying Tiny Shelters until real alternatives exist and COVID-19 is under control.”
An injunction application was filed by the city in Ontario Superior Court.
The application seeks to “permanently” restrain Seivwright “from placing and/or relocating structures on City-owned land or otherwise creating a nuisance or interfering with the City’s rights as owner and occupier of its land.”
The legal action came after Toronto sent a warning letter to the carpenter last November and stated that the structures are “illegal” and “violate city bylaws.”
The city argued that the structures, which are insulated, are unsafe in the legal documents. The city also said that on February 17, fire officials discovered the corpse of a man in the remains of a wooden structure in an encampment in Corktown. However, Seivwright’s Tiny Shelters have not in any way been connected to the Corktown death.
On February 11, Seivwright shared an update on his GoFundMe page and stated that he had stopped constructing the wooden shelters but would carry on with maintenance and relocation of the structures “as people staying outside get into housing.”
Also, he deactivated the ability to donate to the page, which has generated $222,000.
He directs further questions to his legal Representatives in the YouTube video.