Toronto's Anishnawbe Health Street Patrol [was Toronto's internal

Tom Boland (
Tue, 13 Apr 1999 22:44:52 -0700 (PDT)

FWD  CC Replies to author "Tanya Gulliver" <>

Tom Boland <> wrote:
>Can anyone from Toronto report on the Anishnawbe's Street Patrol and other
>programs mentioned below?  Would you recommend similar programs in other
>communities? -- Tom Boland, HPN listowner <>

I have gone out as a volunteer with Anishnawbe Health Street Patrol about 4
times now...and have really enjoyed it in most ways....My experience has
been with the Food Van (which hands out soup, tea, juice, sandwiches and
snacks, as well as clothing and blankets/sleeping bags.

>From a volunteer perspective - the shifts are long...about 8 or 9 hrs
depending on the day...and the staff aren't totally trained in volunteer there are ups and downs...

Most of the staff are formerly  homeless & native...they have a lot of
direct experience in the homeless life, if not always training in "working
with" and case management of homeless individuals....If another agency was
thinking of starting a similar program I would suggest a combination of
skill sets in the staff teams....

There are always two staff on the food van and at least two volunteers, in
addition to two or three people with the Roving Van (driving people to
shelters)....the Food Van runs from 5pm to 1am, and Roving from 4pm to
midnight, and midnight to times of "Cold Alert" they add
additional vans as well as bike patrol....

The vans are almost always well received and the follow-up that is done (ie
alerting the next shift to new people, and new well as
sending out day light patrols to look for people) ensures that the general
area is well covered.

I would say it is a valuable program if you have a significant street
population that rarely use shelters...when I went out on New Years Day there
was a Cold Alert in effect, and a blizzard heading into town and we still
serviced about 75 people.


[Below find related article:]

FWD  Toronto Star [News Story] -  March 27, 1999


     By Catherine Dunphy - Toronto Star Feature Writer

 Joe Hester has been keeping track.

 In 1992, Anishnawbe Health Toronto's street patrol helped out 11,534
homeless people.

 In 1998, they helped out 33,841.

 That's an increase of 193 per cent and that's dramatic.

 More troubling to Hester is the fact that 25 per cent of these people are
aboriginal, although they make up only 2 per cent of the city's population.

 ``The figures get worse,'' he said yesterday at the national symposium on
homelessness during a workshop on aboriginal people without homes.

 Hester is executive director of Anishnawbe Health Toronto, a community and
culturally based health centre using traditional healing methods and
counselling circles as well as western-style health programs.

 This winter Anishnawbe, along with Council Fire shelter, has been running
the Maajaan Maan Pii, or the Come With Me patrol, to help homeless native
people get to shelters for the night. And it started the Biindged, or Come
In program, for native people suffering from addictions and others who want
to work toward getting off the street.

 ``One guy has been on the street 14 years - longer than Street Patrol has
been in existence - and we got housing for him and his partner,'' Hester

 Hester said there have been 133 deaths on Toronto streets since 1992, a
very conservative estimate, but more alarming is that a full 36 per cent of
deaths related to homelessness was among natives.

 ``Aboriginal people are dying in unacceptable numbers on the street.''

 They need housing and other long-term solutions, but they also need
agencies like Anishnawbe's Street Patrol, ``otherwise you remove the last
line of defence for people on the street,'' he said.

 He said aboriginal people must be part of any solutions for homelessness.

 ``There must be no more laid-on solutions,'' he said.

 Native Child and Family Services director Kenn Richard said the
combination of poverty and racism has been deadly to native people.

 ``It is known that children raised away from home do less well,'' he said.
``That's been the reality in Indian country since colonization.''

 Anishnawbe Health worker Jimmie Keyakundo, who was also at yesterday's
workshop, said he became a ward of the crown at age 5 and lived in foster
homes until he was 18.

 ``I grew up with the Queen as my mother,'' he said.

 ``I have a little understanding of what homelessness is.''

 It's the aboriginal people who have been in Canada the longest and who
have never left that are the ones who are increasingly finding themselves
without homes, Keyakundo said.

 He said he was moved by watching everyone ``pulling together'' during the
first day of the symposium on Thursday.


**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**

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