Homeless to receive more help
By Elliott Platt
The University of Toronto has decided to become more involved with helping Toronto's homeless.
Chris Ramsaroop, Students' Administrative Council president at U of T, said he brought the idea of assisting the homeless to a meeting of the university's Governing Council. "We should take a leadership role. This is a social responsibility to the community," he said.
Ramsaroop said the university is proposing to help out various community agencies. "There are between 30 and 40 possible proposals. Some of them include lending out university vans to community agencies at night to distribute food and clothing and ensuring all extra food from the Marriott and other food services are sent to food shelters."
Margaret Hancock, warden of Hart House, a community centre on Toronto's campus, spoke to Robert Prichard, U of T president, shortly after the Governing Council meeting to determine how the university could help tackle the homeless problem.
Hancock said she received feedback from the staff, faculty and students at a public meeting last Monday. Approximately 50 people who were eager to discuss the homeless problem attended the meeting, she added.
"We discussed ways to take resources that the university already has and apply those resources in a way that would contribute to alleviating homelessness," Hancock said.
Hancock added she wants to use the university's academic resources to create a multi-disciplinary team to work together to stop homelessness. She said she hopes this team could get involved with the Golden Report, the current mayor's task force on homelessness.
The multi-disciplinary team will be prepared for further discussion on the report, Hancock said.
"So far there has been such a positive response to the initiative, which will result in a very wonderful contribution made to the community through initiative," she said.
Western also gives back to the community, but in different ways than U of T, said Melissa Cousineau, VP-student affairs for the University Students' Council. "Western raises money for the United Way which gives money to shelters, soup kitchens and youth centres."
Cousineau added two years ago Western's Charity Ball donated part of its funds to Street Connections, a community-based program designed to get kids off the streets.