Rotary Club of Toronto Infirmary offers healthcare services for homeless people|
| || ||
TORONTO -- St. Michael's Hospital and the City of Toronto celebrated the
official opening of the Rotary Club of Toronto Infirmary today in a ceremony at
Seaton House that marked their continuing commitment to addressing homelessness
in the Toronto area.
The event was attended by federal and local dignitaries, including the
Honourable Anne McLellan, Minister of Health; Toronto Councillor Olivia Chow,
Chair of the City's Community Services Committee; and representatives from the
Rotary Club of Toronto, St. Michael's Hospital, Seaton House and the University
of Toronto. The establishment of this 36-bed infirmary, supported by all three
levels of government as well as public and private sector organizations, is
unique in Canada.
Construction of the infirmary began in 2001 in response to a growing need for
hospital-shelter integration between St. Michael's Hospital and Seaton House.
The Rotary Club of Toronto responded to a proposal to establish a health
facility at Seaton House that would ensure fully integrated services with the
family practice residency program at St. Michael's Hospital.
"This initiative demonstrates that by working together we can effectively
address a serious issue faced by Canadians who are homeless -- access to
comprehensive, high quality health care," said Anne McLellan. "It is important
that vulnerable members of society have access to high quality health care in a
continuous and effective manner. I congratulate the front-line staff,
volunteers and health care providers for their efforts, which will result in
immediate help and lasting solutions."
"This program is an excellent example of the innovative work underway at our
shelters in the City of Toronto," said Olivia Chow. "This is a partnership we
must all celebrate and give our full support."
"Homelessness is a complex issue, and it is encouraging to see all three levels
of government and community agencies working together at Seaton House to
address the needs of homeless people," said Brenda Elliott, Ontario's Minister
of Community, Family and Children's Services. The Ontario government provides
ongoing funding to the City of Toronto for Seaton House and other hostel
operations. In 2001, the Ministry of Community, Family and Children's Services
provided $7.2 million to the City for Seaton House.
The completion of this infirmary can be credited to strong partnerships with
local organizations and all levels of government. Project contributions include
$350,000 from the Rotary Club of Toronto for equipment and building
renovations; staffing provided by St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto
and City of Toronto; and $150,700 from the Government of Canada's National
Homelessness Initiative through the Supporting Communities Partnership
Initiative (SCPI) to improve the co-ordination and integration of services
between Seaton House and the Hospital. Per diem costs for clients of Seaton
House are provided by the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario.
"The collaboration between Seaton House, the Rotary Club of Toronto and St.
Michael's Hospital promotes the Canada Health Act principles of accessibility
and comprehensiveness for homeless people in the neighbourhoods of our city,"
said Jeff Lozon, President and CEO, St. Michael's Hospital.
"This infirmary will set a national standard for providing clinical services in
the shelters and hostels where homeless people live and will fully integrate
these services into the academic programs of university-affiliated teaching
hospitals," said Dr. Philip Berger, Medical Director, Inner City Health Program
and Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.
Partnership through organizations such as the Rotary Club of Toronto, St.
Michael's Hospital, Seaton House, the University of Toronto, and all three
levels of government is making a difference by encouraging the development of
local solutions to help alleviate homelessness.
For more information about the Government of Canada's National Homelessness
Initiative, visit the Web site at www.hrdc.gc.ca/homelessness.