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article imageToronto's Homeless Need Help Special

By KJ Mullins     Nov 28, 2009 in World
On Saturday Digital Journal talked to the homeless in Toronto about their living conditions and what they need. The homeless deal with the cold, bed bugs and lack of resources.
Although Toronto has many social service groups devoted to the homeless those in the streets are largely unaware of what is out there. Not one of the men I spoke to knew of programs within the city about getting proper housing for those living on the street.
Digital Journal talked to those in the street who lived on the street or in shelters.
"You got about twenty guys stay there," one of the men told me when explaining his housing situation. He lives at one of the shelters that also has a medical side to it. He sees two doctors and a nurse on a weekly basis.
He's one of the lucky ones. Not all of the area shelters have the added medical feature.
One of the men who I spoke with uses music to make money. His housing situation was not as nice. He wears his one set of clothing until they are unwearable.
"There's too many bed bugs."
His body was covered in bites.
Another man sitting on the stoop in front of St. Christopher's Art Store spoke of the bed bug problem in the area shelters.
"There are places to go. They're not safe. There are bed bugs and illness."
He passed his time with friends on the stoop with a bottle of malt being passed around.
I was told over and over by the men who shiver during the cold nights that the area shelters are filled with bed bugs. Many wear the clothing on their backs day in and day out to cover the multitude of bites.
One positive though is the health care that many of the homeless are receiving. Everyone I spoke to knew where to go if they were sick. Some who were living in shelters had access to medical care at the shelter level.
homeless in Toronto
homeless in Toronto
The homeless in Toronto are not going anywhere until they are aware of the services that are out there for them. This year the 211 was opened in the city for those to be instantly connected to agencies to help. That number can't help though if those in need have yet to hear about it.
More street level work has to be done to help those in need be able to find the resources that will help them have a hand up.
Homeless in Toronto
Homeless in Toronto
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