The St. Stephen’s Community House Member Advocacy Committee (MAC) conducted a survey of drop-in users in the downtown west community between January 17 and January 23, 2018. A total of 73 drop-in users were surveyed from Sistering (for women), St. Stephen’s Community House Corner Drop-In and St. Felix Centre.
Respondents were asked about their experiences using city services including libraries, shelters, Out of the Cold, and TTC. They were asked if they had mental health and addictions, and what would make things better for them. Additional questions were about overdose response by the City. All respondents were asked to identify where improvements should be made in these systems.
There is a patchwork of permanent shelters, Out of the Cold sites, temporary warming centres, and 24-hour drop-ins trying to cope with the homeless crisis. The survey was able to quickly reach a group of people with personal experience with all these places, and often a unique perspective from using multiple places at once to survive.
The MAC is a social action group made up of people with lived experience of poverty, homelessness, mental health and addiction issues, racism and more, who use their experience to advocate for change. This survey was a participatory action research project conducted by group members.
You can read the survey results here.
On January 26, the Toronto Star published a story from Laurie Monsbraaten about the survey titled, "Survey of Toronto drop-in users highlights inner-city needs".