Fred Victor is the funding trustee for Change Toronto, a small non-profit organization with a big vision. Their aim is to end homelessness through collaboration with people who have first-hand experience.
Change Toronto organizes to provide training, volunteer and employment opportunities for homeless people. In the past year, 40 people were hired to work in Toronto’s Cooling Centres through Change Toronto.
Change Toronto is made up of:
- people with lived experience of homelessness,
- representatives from the City of Toronto’s cooling centres and homelessness initiatives,
- business people, and
- frontline workers from homelessness and poverty organizations.
Sonny tells about how he came to Fred Victor through his experience working for Change Toronto.
I’m a non-homeless person now, but I’ve lived on the streets, on and off, since 1977. Having spent so many years on the streets, I understand being homeless. I struggled with addictions for 20 years but not everyone on the street is an addict. There are a lot of healthy, intelligent homeless people. Everyone is different and everyone simply wants to be treated like a human being.
I am now someone who is ready to take care of other people. I came to Fred Victor through Change Toronto and volunteered at the Fred Victor Bethlehem United Shelter for many months.
Now I’m working full-time at St. Michael’s Hospital advocating on behalf of homeless people and acting as a liaison between them and hospital staff. It’s an overwhelming job but it’s very important that we all see eye to eye. If there’s anything I can do to alleviate some of the pressure in the emergency waiting room, then I want to do it.
From time to time, I also walk community workers around the city to show them Toronto through the eyes of a homeless person. These walks have helped many to better understand how to reach out to people who are living on the street.
I can’t help everybody but I feel the need to be there for the homeless when society just says no and pushes them under the rug
Click here to DONATE to Fred Victor’s health and community programs.