TORONTO – January, 2019 – In a state-of-emergency situation where the demand for essential life saving winter survival kits for GTA homeless and those less fortunate has surpassed critical numbers, means that people will die. A 2018 Street Needs Assessment released by the city of Toronto, showed that an average of “8,715 people were homeless.” As such, the City of Toronto continues to struggle with the mounting crises to create a safe environment for its homeless population. While outreach workers and shelters do their best to meet the growing demand of those in need year round, winter in the GTA and surrounding area communities inflicts additional hardships for the city’s most at risk.
On Saturday, January 19, 2019, Engage and Change’s Project Winter Survival will package 3,000 survival kits for distribution to those in need through approximately 210 social service agencies, homeless shelters, and outreach providers situated throughout GTA and surrounding areas: 8:30 am, The Bargains Group Ltd., 890 Caledonia Rd, Toronto.
“The growing plight of our city’s homeless goes from critical to deadly during the volatile winter season,” said Jody Steinhauer, Project Winter Survival founder. “City cut backs and overcrowded conditions mean increased numbers in need of warmth and shelter are left to fend off the elements as best they can. Unfortunately, the 3000 kits that we provide can only offer marginal relief.”
‘THE NUMBERS ARE STAGGERING!”
In 2018, the City of Toronto reported 100 deaths among those experiencing homelessness. Death by overdose, suicide, poor health conditions, and expiry by exposure to the elements, etc. – the odds of survival against physical and mental illness, sexual and physical violence, drugs and the cold for the homeless and those less fortunate across the GTA and surrounding communities are stacked in favour of mortality. As per this release, Project Winter Survival has received requests in excess of 21,000 survival kits, an increase of approximately 60 percent from 2018. “The numbers are staggering,” said Steinhauer. “Tragically the growing number of requests for kits far exceeds the total number of survival kits that we are able to fund through the generous support of our corporate and community partners. The call to action for more kits is NOW!”
Thanks to the patronage of its corporate and civic partners, Project Winter Survival will give Toronto’s community of street and shelter dwellers a fighting chance to beat the odds. Each kit contains such items as sleeping bags, clothing, food, and personal and health care items that often make a difference between life and death. Since its inception in 1999, Project Winter Survival has assembled and distributed more than 30,000 winter survival kits to GTA and surrounding area homeless. For those less fortunate, a mere $25 donation per kit to Project Winter Survival translates into a lifeline of hope against the threat of death by exposure. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.engageandchange.org.