Three post-secondary institutions. More than 75 students. Three social services. The homeless. One day.
Project Homeless Connect will bring all those elements together for a day of service May 14.
The goal? To give Carleton students an opportunity to receive some hands-on experience with members of Ottawa’s homeless community. And for the three organizations participating, it’s an opportunity to create awareness about the population they serve daily.
“The idea is to do a day of service on homelessness issues and to provide some practical services, goods and support for the homeless themselves on a particular day,” says Ted Jackson, associate dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs. Jackson, along with Student Experience Office’s Joe Lipsett, is spearheading Carleton’s involvement in this project.
Students from Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa are also participating and partnering with The Shepherd’s of Good Hope, the Ottawa Mission and the Salvation Army.
Project Homelessness Connect is just one of a number of things Carleton is doing on the issue, says Jackson. There is research on homelessness and numerous student volunteer initiatives. Most recently, three Sprott School of Business students took part in the national campaign called 5 Days for Homeless.
Lipsett says that the May 18 event will go a long way to create awareness among students.
“It will be a great way for students to make that personal connection and hopefully, remove some of the stigma and remove some of the biases,” says Lipsett. “Ultimately, what we’re hoping is this sheds light on the bigger issue and get students … to feel like they are more involved with the community and to think about the ways they can start making more of an impact.”
Jackson says the issue of homelessness is a natural issue for an educational institution to take on.
“I’m hopeful that the day is one that does draw public attention … and even more so, that the leadership of the university and the community will in fact step up and say, ‘Let’s get this thing done, let’s deal with this issue seriously.'”