Nov 17, 2016
Before moving to Toronto, Meghan volunteered at a drop-in centre in Guelph where she learned that needs of homeless people are complex and immediate, yet often unaddressed. She would come to see that in Toronto, the problem is even greater.
“We have been living in Toronto for just over six years and met as graduate students at the University of Toronto,” comment the couple. Meghan works as a mental health researcher and Alex is completing his physician residency.
Many times, while working a shift at St. Michael’s Hospital, Alex would be treating under-served patients living in downtown Toronto. These patients, many of whom are homeless and have mental health issues, come to the hospital emergency for non-serious medical issues because they have difficulty accessing health care services. Mental illness and addictions occur among the homeless at a rate much higher than the general population, and these issues can make their treatment more difficult. Seeing this so often left Alex with a deep appreciation for why an organization like Street Health, which provides accessible physical and mental health support, is so necessary.
“We got married last New Year’s Eve. As part of our wedding planning process, we decided that instead of spending money on wedding favours for our guests, we would make a donation to a local charity. Street Health was an easy choice given our joint passion for community health and helping people get better access to health care. We especially wanted to support Street Health during that time of year, when lack of housing can be life-threatening.”
The services Street Health provides really resonate with Alex and Meghan. “Through our work and our community involvement we always try to support a cause that we are passionate about, and to find a reputable charity that supports those beliefs. There are many ways to give – it doesn’t always have to be financial. Even a little bit can go a long way!”