Almost home: Toronto’s Regent Park at a crossroads

Saturday, May 29, 2010 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

TORONTO — Yasin Khawaja and his family know they’re almost home. The 22-year-old, his parents and two sisters are set to move into their apartment in Regent Park’s brand-new reincarnation.

They just don’t know when.

At first it was August. But earlier this month they were told to expect delays. Now the family waits on tenterhooks, a September reunion in Bangladesh facing postponement, until they find out their fate. “The whole thing has been kind of a mess,” he says.

But the tone in the Khawajas’ Shuter Street townhouse is one of excited, nervous anticipation when they talk about the upcoming move – a new building (with a balcony, he notes with pride), a new neighbourhood in the works and, maybe, a new way of providing social housing.

“They gave us choices, they gave us floor plans. … Whenever someone asks, ‘Where do you live?’ and I say, ‘Regent Park,’ they’re like, ‘Ohh, are you serious?’

“I’m hoping it’s better.”

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