By: Alanna Quinn, RFP Coordinator and Sanah Matadar, Social Media Coordinator
Winter is coming, but not everyone welcomes the snowy months. In fact, it’s estimated that over 5000 Torontonians will be forced to sleep outdoors or at some shelter facility as we reach freezing temperatures. Last year, the city was in crisis, as shelters reached their capacity and there was no plan in place to deal with the overcrowding. And while city council aims to avoid the same crisis this year, it’s really a collaborative effort between community services that are helping homeless Torontonians prepare for winter.
On Sunday, October 28th volunteers from MCIS and interpreters went to Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre for the 6th annual Project Homeless Connect Toronto. The goal of the event: to provide services ranging from hearing assessments, pet care, dental care, chiropractic care, Hep C testing, foot care, haircuts, flu shots, manicures, portrait photography, clothing, health resources, eye assessments, community supports, leisure, nutrition, diabetic support, education and employment supports, housing supports, legal supports, mental health and addictions, and even live music to those experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.
MCIS’ role at Homeless Connect Toronto was to connect French, Spanish, Arabic, Cantonese, and Mandarin native speakers to their requested services with incomparable understanding. It was a successful day; MCIS was able to help about 40 guests seek their requested services with aid from our interpreters. Our team was also located very close to the entrance allowing us to connect with many guests, services provides, and volunteers throughout the day.
We also learned that guests were difficult to distinguish as being at-risk of homelessness or experiencing it, proving that there is no particular look of people that need help and support in our community. Our eyes were opened and hearts bigger than ever as we actively connected with the Toronto Community.
MCIS wants to thank Alicia, Ike, Alanna, Deanna, and Lester for graciously donating their Sunday to this cause representative of MCIS. Our staff also would like to thank our phenomenal interpreters Yasmine (Arabic interpreter), Lidia (Spanish interpreter), Yuan (Lily) (Mandarin/ Cantonese interpreter), Xiaoping (Renee) (Mandarin/ Cantonese interpreter), Yanyan (Nancy) (Mandarin/ Cantonese interpreter) and Myriam (French interpreter). We look forward to next years’ Project Homeless Connect TO to continue collaborating and providing help to our community.
To learn of ways you can become involved with Homeless Connect TO: http://www.hctoronto.org/