To raise awareness of homelessness, 11 Division officers and Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) members are sleeping outside in November.
Spanning from High Park to Parkdale with over 18 square kilometres to patrol, and with a diverse population of over 135,000 to serve, the officers from 11 Division know very well the issues that confront the city. In a continuing effort to assist those less fortunate, a number of projects have been designed to feed, shelter and clothe those requiring a little assistance to get back up and proudly move forward.
This past summer the station and its community partners collected close to 7,000 pounds of non-perishable food items and canned goods to contribute to the Paddle4Provisions project. The food was delivered to three local divisional food banks and community kitchens to help stem the tide of hunger.
This fall, in preparation for the winter season, officers, in partnership with 11 Division CPLC, will be raising awareness on the homelessness issue by both sleeping outside overnight and collecting donated new clothing, including hats, gloves, mitts and blankets as part of the Warm4Winter distribution project. The donated items will be delivered to a local social service agency: the West Neighborhood House.
“Homelessness is a critical community issue” says 11 Division Unit Commander Supt. Heinz Kuck. “On any given night there are estimates that there are over 5000 homeless people throughout Toronto, and of that number, close to 500 that sleep outdoors. The lack of affordable housing often equates to homelessness, and homelessness by its very nature may put those into harm’s way and thus being victims of crime.”
According to the City’s 2013 Street Needs Assessment Report; Homelessness is defined as, and includes; “individuals sleeping outdoors, as well as those staying in emergency shelters, in Violence Against Women (VAW) shelters, individuals in health or treatments facilities with no permanent address, as well as those in correctional facilities with no fixed address.”
The station's project will have a number of volunteer officers and CPLC members who will not only collect new clothing and blankets for the cause, but in order to raise awareness on the homelessness issue, sleep out this November 7th, overnight, in sleeping bags and ground sheets, to vicariously experience “sleeping rough.”
“This will be an amazing gift to West Neighbourhood House” says Jani Trindale, the Immigrant and Refugee Services Coordinator. “We are a social services agency located in west central Toronto, and have been part of the lives of people of all ages and cultural backgrounds since 1912. Being part of this project will ensure warm clothing going out before winter.”
“This projects sounds great,” says Linda Martin, 11 Division CPLC Co-Chair, “I'm in and I'm going to challenge my families and my staff to bring in the most items - I have 50 staff and over 200 families so I hope to have them help make an impact.”
Anyone wishing to donate new clothing items can contact Deb Skinner, in the 11 Division Community Response Unit, at 416-808-1119