At the forefront of humanitarian aid
Over our 70 years of service, COSTI has played an important role in responding to global issues and crises by providing refugees from around the world with shelter and other life-changing social supports.
In 2021/22 COSTI welcomed hundreds of Afghan refugees evacuated to safety under Canada’s humanitarian evacuation plan to resettle individuals who supported the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. As a result of the surge of Afghan refugees, COSTI expanded operations to two hotels to accommodate and support new client arrivals. A total of 2,168 government-sponsored refugees were welcomed and supported.
COSTI is proud to be at the forefront of this humanitarian effort. Despite the challenges of supporting a large number of refugees, a challenging housing market, and the ongoing restrictions surrounding COVID-19, we were successful in securing affordable housing for just over 1,788 individuals within four weeks.
Our Client Support Services (CSS) caseload alone for government-sponsored refugees last year was 2,059. Services provided include a host of services – from orientation support and translation services to obtaining Ontario Health Insurance Plan cards (OHIP) and beyond.
A snapshot of the top primary languages of the people we supported included Dari, Pashto and Farsi-Persian (making up 66%). Arabic-speaking individuals accounted for 21%. 63% of clients served in 2021/22 were born in Afghanistan and 12% (the second highest percentage) were born in Syria.
With safety being always at the forefront, our staff and services remained agile as our partnership with the City of Toronto continued in 2021/22. The ongoing challenges of COVID-19 restrictions, such as border closures and increased pressures on the City’s shelter system, continued to impact COSTI’s work in hostels. In addition to our refugee population, we supported chronically homeless families and individuals. 593 refugee individuals and families, and over 739 inner city families were also supported.