As the MCIS team made its way to the Homeless Connect event on October 30, we were sure that many people would come looking for interpretation services, and they did. Although the event was scheduled to start at 11 a.m., people started queuing up in the early hours of the morning. Volunteers could be seen rushing to help those seeking assistance.
Around 700 guests showed up for the event. Several of the homeless walked in looking for financial assistance, medical assistance such as dental care, eye care, haircuts and other free services such as flu shots, legal support and job training.
On top of their agenda though was affordable housing. In fact, many of the homeless complained that they couldn’t find affordable housing in Toronto. They found that the rent was simply high and took refuge in shelters around the city.
“I have been working for quite some time and am between two jobs, but just can’t afford the rent in Toronto, which is why I have been living in a shelter. I also hope to get adequate training to find the right kind of employment,” said a person on condition of anonymity.
MCIS’ interpreters provided services in Spanish, Arabic and French to a number of people who arrived at the event. Incidentally, one of our interpreters got an opportunity to interpret for a Syrian refugee family who arrived in the country this year. Abdul Rahman and his family were looking for financial assistance and winter clothing for their family. “Our children have outgrown their clothes,” the family said.
The MCIS team also met a few bilinguals who spoke languages including French and Arabic, who were interested in the interpreter training program.
As the event drew to a close, the team had done its part; in addition to interpreting for several guests, we also handed out promotional material to those who needed language services.
We also gained a unique understanding of the homelessness situation, what people without homes need, and how we can help them. The event was also an eye opener for many of us, as we realized that it is about time we get rid of stereotypes such as all homeless people have some type of substance abuse issue, where in fact several of them are just like you and me who have fallen upon hard times.
-Sales and Marketing Team
October 31, 2016