Street Outreach with a Soul
There are approximately 35,000 marginalized individuals experiencing homelessness in Canada every day (The Homeless Hub). They are divided into two distinct groups: those who are temporarily homeless – the transitional homeless – and those who are chronically homeless – living on the streets for more than one year.
Each of these individuals lacks both accessible and sustainable resources for health, and safety. More than anything, they lack compassionate support and care.
- Over 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness in a year, including over 5,000 in Toronto (ranked the 2nd highest homeless population over any Canadian city).
- Approximately 1,350 chronically homeless people die each year in Canada, with an average life expectancy of 39 years old.
Our outreach van program provides immediate relief and referrals for the most vulnerable people in our city.
Outreach workers and peer support workers, together with a team of volunteers, provide hot meals, essential clothing and hygiene supplies, six shifts per week. Staff provide clients with follow-up support and referrals to community agencies to assist with access to housing, mental health and addiction treatment and other available resources.
The respectful and dignified manner in which volunteers and staff interact with clients restores their trust and increases the likelihood of successful referrals.
MJRH works in partnership with a number of shelters and health support services in Toronto in order to share resources, knowledge, and develop specific programs in the interest of our common service users.
Want to know what a night on the van is like?
Check out this blog post written by former summer student Hannah Ziegler.
Each MJRH van shift is facilitated by a Ve’ahavta Outreach Worker accompanied by four volunteers who receive a hands-on education and volunteer experience.
Last year, we had 484 volunteers giveover 4,392 hours of volunteer time to assist MJRH Outreach Workers on the Ve’ahavta MJRH outreach van!