From hope to opportunity.
The health and safety of our clients and essential services staff working out of our two sites, as well as the Ralph Chiodo Family Immigrant Reception Centre continued to be a priority last year as the pandemic continued to place more pressure on the shelter system and COSTI continued to support the City of Toronto with two hotel sites for refugees. Due to the needs of the city, our role expanded during the pandemic, with hostel services staff assisting inner-city families, victims of domestic violence families and chronically homeless families and individuals.
Our ongoing priority for our refugee services is to ensure that anyone that comes through our doors is able to have their medical needs addressed, access mental health counselling, housing and employment opportunities, as soon as they arrive. This necessitates a constant review and modification of existing programming, development of new programming, and flexibility in adapting to the diverse service needs of our clients.
In 2021/22 our priorities include the establishment of a best practice model of service for refugee claimants that is comprehensive and holistic, and development of a plan for COSTI for a sustainable solution to temporary accommodation for refugee claimants. In addition, COSTI’s Client Support Services will look to establish a more robust approach to intensive case management support for government-sponsored refugees, including development and implementation of digital messaging and other innovative approaches in the coming year.
Together with our community partners, we continue to collaborate in developing programming, recreational and community activities that help alleviate some of the uncertainty and anxiety experienced by refugees when they first arrive in Canada. English conversation circles, reading clubs, information sessions on housing and employment opportunities help equip our clients with some of the tools they need to succeed when they leave us to start their new life in their own home in Canada.