Odds stacked against GTA homeless in fight to the death

TORONTO, Jan. 20, 2017 /CNW/ - A body found frozen to death in an unheated van, a man beaten to death in a bus shelter, another burned to death in a makeshift shelter, etc. – the odds of survival against disease, sexual and physical violence, fire, and the cold for the homeless and those less fortunate across the GTA and surrounding communities are stacked in favour of mortality.  On Saturday, January 21, 2017, Engage and Change's Project Winter Survival will package 3,000 survival kits for distribution to those in need through approximately 200 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.

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 vulnerable. "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!"

Statistics are rough at best but there is an estimated 5,000 people sleeping outdoors and in shelters including about 1000 homeless kids each night, with 9% of the homeless population sleeping rough (2013). As per this release, Project Winter Survival has received in excess of 12,500 requests for kits, a 20 percent increase over 2016. "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 including Canada's five big banking institutions, 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.

Media Schedule: The Bargains Group, 890 Caledonia Road, Toronto

8:30 am

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Pack to commence

12:00 pm

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Press Conference

12:30 pm

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Agency Pick-up

Time TBD

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Kit distribution to the homeless in the downtown core

SOURCE Engage and Change

For further information: Media Contact: Francisca Gambino, francis G communications, 416-432-4599 or francis@francisgpr.com

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