Residents of City Housing units at 95 Hess and 181 Jackson are getting ready to organize a protest rally after a bloody weekend that saw two serious stabbing incidents in the geared-to-income complex. Peter Llewellyn who is one of the rally organizers says the lawlessness, mostly related to the crack cocaine trade is on the increase. Early Saturday morning a man was stabbed so severely that clean-up crews had to lift all of the carpet on the second floor of the Hess street building. Then overnight on Saturday a female crack dealer stabbed a female crack addict. Neither woman was a resident of the complex. Peter Llewellyn says the buildings have become a shopping plaza for people looking for drugs. “Its like Roschdale College in Toronto,” he said, referring to the notorious 1960’s hippie hangout at the University of Toronto that eventually had to be closed down due to drug trafficking. Residnets are so concerned about the drug trade that many of them have a second TV tuned permanently to the security channel that monitors the lobby of the buildings. “We call it the Crack Channel,” says Peter, adding that non resident strangers are regularly seen entering and exiting the building. “There’s no question some of the residents are dealers and some are users,” Llewellyn noted, “but there are a lot of non residents cruising the buildings too.” He says there is a homeless crack addict in his 60’s who gets into the building and sometimes defecates in the stairwells. The main problem says Llewellyn is there is no effective security. Third party security guards sometime buzz strangers through the front door who do not have proper ID. Cleaning staff have also been spotted on closed circuit TV letting unauthorized people in.
City Housing President, Councillor Brian McHattie had the following email exchange with Llewellyn:
Peter Llewellyn to McHattie and others on a distrubution list:
Morning all. A goodly number of the CityHousing Hamilton (CHH) Tenants who live in the Vanier complex situated @ both 95 Hess St. S & 181 Jackson West are in the process of organizing a protest. The level of Drug Dealing (Crack Cocaine) & violence here has reached levels that concern & frighten many of us. It’s constant, chronic and although the CHH Board of Directors & CHH Management have long been aware of the level of criminality occuring on these Residential properties they have done little to address these Quality of Life issues. This is no longer acceptable to us. Right now we are gathering signage, bullhorns & personnel. We intend to Picket & Protest. The community at large needs to be aware that this CHH complex is not only a dangerous place to live but that we are also a Blight on this neighborhood. We intend to Picket, Protest, Photograph, Poster & Patrol. We have contract cleaning staff who willingly & knowingly admit Addicts & Dealers. Staff who always find excuses to allow violent non-resident Addicts admittance to our Homes because they think so little of us. Drug Dealers & Addicts who constantly threaten & intimidate us. These two CHH residential High Rises have long been the Crack Cocaine Mecca of Hamilton & to some extant Toronto. We as CHH Tenants intend to change this. This is our Home. yours……..the Tenants of this CHH complex
Coun. McHattie’s reply:
Thanks Peter.If this was an easy problem to fix it would be done by now.What are your suggestions on solving this problem?TksBrian
Brian McHattie, Councillor
Ward 1, Chedoke-Cootes
City of Hamilton
Peter Llewellyn reply:
Councilor McHattie thank you for replying. We need 24 hour security here. Security that doesn’t admit non-residents who request entry when they shouldn’t be here at all (Intelligarde). We need security who will enforce the 100 or so No Tresspass orders that CHH’s CEO says have been issued since 2002. Currently they have unrestricted access to these buildings because there is no mechanism or personnel to enforce the rules here. We also need CHH staff to bar violent non-residents who are also drug addicts instead of CHH staff looking for ways to allow these chronically violent thugs to have access to our homes & continue to threaten & harm tenants. Currently favortism plays a large part in who, if anyone, is sanctioned here. This goes for Drug Dealers too. CityHousing Hamilton at all levels seems to be willfully blind to the constant criminal acivity here. We believe by their actions & inactions that CHH enables the rampant Drug Dealing & violence in this downtown complex. There needs to be a Paradigm shift in how CityHousing staff, management & the Hamilton Police Service deals with us & our quality of life issues. If you can control who comes onto this property you can greatly reduce the criminal activity.