From hope to opportunity.
COSTI’s 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 2019/20, the priority to further develop our wrap-around service delivery model for refugees after they leave temporary shelter, resulted in the establishment of new partnerships, strengthening of existing partnerships and expansion of our Volunteer, Community and Stakeholder Engagement Office.
Together with our community partners, we collaborated 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.
The pandemic placed more pressure on the shelter system and COSTI continued to support the City of Toronto with two hotel sites for refugees. 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 became a priority. The outpouring of support and generosity from individuals, corporate donors and the community in providing PPE at the start of the pandemic, ensured that everyone was protected and safe.