Over the weekend I was sent an email asking for my support on saving a shelter in Ward 30. The request informed me that a shelter called "Red Door Family Shelter" was in a position on losing its home because of a dispute with investors they were partnered with.
Before I could commit, I began to research about Red Door and its importance to that community but also to the entire city as a whole. It was very interesting to begin to hear about a shelter that has been operating for 30 years helping women and children leave abusive relationships or give shelter to families with no other choice but to be homeless.
The best way to learn more about Red Door is to click here which is a link to their webpage. There is information, videos on who Red Door helps and how you can help.
Upon my arrival on April 7th to their public meeting, it was amazing to see the support from across the entire city for their cause. The public heard how this was an issue they were dealing alone until they decided to go public. The stress of being in the middle of a dispute must have been unbearable. An institution for 30 years now unsure if it will have a home, this cannot happen!
I was glad to see some familiar faces though who also came to show their support for Red Door. Several candidates running for city council including Dan Fox running in Ward 24 and Jolene Hunt running in Ward 18. There was also several sitting councillors in attendance including Mary Fragedakis and Paula Fletcher. This was overshadowed completely when Olivia Chow made an impromptu appearance and eventual speech. Having a mayoral candidate take the time to support a shelter is a benefit of exposure that is sorely needed.
Even former Toronto Mayor David Crombie spoke in supporting the shelter and will be lending his time in attempting to connect with leaders of other levels of government. He spoke with compassion and concern for Red Door Family Shelter that it resonated with all in attendance.
DAN, JOLENE & I showing our Support.
The room was eventually so packed with supporters that some of the latecomers had to stand out in the hall. They were still able to hear the testimonials of the good work done for those who were in need from previous residents of the shelter. Kozeta Izeti and her family were welcomed into Red Door Family Shelter and given a chance to learn English and eventually run a successful business. The other previous resident was merely a boy when he attended Red Door. Stephen Simpson and his mother fled an abusive home of which he didn't know was the 'norm' back then. How was a child to know that arguments and assault weren't normal?!
Stephen's two greatest statements that really struck a cord with many in the room were:
Despite the millions of people in this great city, my family at the time was alone.
I find it very disheartening that a village can raise a child but a city can't.
There is still much to be done and there are ways to be involved. The board asked everyone in the room to simply get two other people involved. They also said that financial donations were also accepted for those who can not be involved due to distance or availability. Here again is their website.