The operator of a 24-hour homeless shelter is pleading for common understanding in the wake of a backlash by residents who have expressed a litany of grievances, such as the presence of discarded hypodermic needles and litter, centred around the site in Liberty Village.

A public meeting organized in Parkdale last week by Toronto Police Service’s 14 Division to discuss its neighbourhood officers program was “commandeered” by irate Liberty Village residents, say meeting attendees, who preferred to focus their concerns around the so-called respite centre.

Since the centre opened last November as a temporary site — an emergency response by the city to a shortage of permanent shelter beds — it has inflamed tensions among some residents, who’ve called for more police presence to address what they see as sudden lawlessness befouling their neighbourhood.