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Seniors struggle after heat repeatedly shut off in East York building

Residents of an East York community housing building are begging for help after the heat and hot water have repeatedly shut off during some of the coldest nights this winter.

Katerina Theoulis, a senior, has lived for several years at 266 Donlands Ave., in the Pape Avenue and O’Connor Drive area.

She said the problems with the heat and hot water began at the start of December.

Many residents say they have voiced their complaints to both building management and Toronto housing officials and despite workers coming in to repair the boiler, the problem continues.

“They come and fix it but they don’t fix it,” Theoulis said.

The biggest concern for many is that the building is filled with both seniors and those with disabilities, who are susceptible to illness.

“I don’t want to be sick in the hospital,” said Theoulis. “We have to be careful but they don’t really care about that.”

Theoulis said she often times has to wear heavy socks and winter jackets just to keep warm. She said that when she asked management for a solution they suggested she buy a portable heater.

“Why should I spend money on a heater? You have to look after the boilers!” She has told them. “It’s not the point to buy heaters the point is to fix it.”

Maria Gougoussis, another long term resident of the building, says it’s frustrating to never know if you’re going to wake up in the cold or not.

“Sometimes we have heat sometimes we don’t have it, but in this weather…,” she explained.

Gougoussis said sometimes the heat is off for only a few hours, sometimes all night – which forces her to take refuse at her daughter’s home just to keep warm.

Residents have been told that one of the building’s two boilers has broken and the second boiler is having difficulty handle the excess load, which is what is causing the shut offs.

In a statement sent to CityNews on Tuesday, the TCHS says the problem is the result of “a series of distinct issues with the building’s boilers.”

“We have continuously had contractors on site attempting to fix the problems as they arise,” the statement goes on to read. “One boiler is currently under-going a scheduled rebuild and should be online within 24 hours, which will restore the building’s full capacity to provide heat.”

The TCHC says they are encouraging any resident need help to contact their client care centre at 416-981-5500.