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December 15, 2009
How to help people who are homeless this holiday season
Many Torontonians approach the City during the holiday season looking for ways to share a little cheer with people who are homeless. The City asked those on the front lines who run the shelters, drop-ins and other services for homeless people what would really bring a smile to their clients’ faces.

Agency wish lists can be seen at

“At this time of year, people want to do something to help others,” says Councillor Janet Davis (Ward 31 Beaches-East York), Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee. “The City has asked agencies providing front line services to see what would really make a difference. The list is a useful guide for anyone who wants to make sure that their contribution is meeting a real need.”

Most common items on the wish lists? TTC tickets, vouchers for groceries, and non-perishable food items--the everyday things that get left behind when you don't have much money during the year. Agencies are also looking for volunteer help.

“Agencies are telling us their clients need everything from clothing, household items and toiletries to coupons for food, craft supplies, winter clothing and boots,” said Phil Brown, General Manager of Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, the City division that coordinates funding and services to homeless people in Toronto. “Many are also looking for volunteers and I know we get a lot of calls at this time of year from people wanting to donate a few precious hours to help those less fortunate.”

The City’s website lists the agencies that responded to the survey, the items they would like to distribute to their clients over the holidays, whether they are able to pick up, whether they need volunteers, and contact names and phone numbers.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Sonia Zyvatkauskas, Policy Development Officer, 416 392 1264;



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