Sr. Anne Speaks at Federal Homeless Funding Announcement
Sister Anne Schenck was part of a Friday, February 13 press conference held at Furniture Bank. At this conference, the federal government announced $86 million in funding to fight homelessness in Toronto. Present were Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver, Minister of State Candice Bergen, Etobicoke-Lakeshore MP Bernard Trottier, Toronto Mayor John Tory, and Sister Anne (pictured right in red), the founder of Furniture Bank. Speaking at the conference, Mayor Tory said, "This five-year commitment from the federal government means we can continue to provide much-needed services to help Toronto’s most vulnerable residents."
After Mayor Tory's remarks, Sister Anne spoke. "I am happy," she said, "to see various levels of government here today. At Furniture Bank, our staff and volunteers see the smiles and joy of those you assist from afar. Today, we share that experience with you."
The funding will help over 100 community agencies, including Furniture Bank, in supporting people to find permanent housing, treatment for mental health issues, and other assistance.
Furniture Bank, founded in 1998, redistributes gently used furniture to people in need. Since 2005, it has received federal funding channeled through Toronto’s Social Purpose Enterprise Fund. More recently, funding has come through Toronto's Streets to Homes program, dedicated to finding housing for people in need. The federal government asked several social agencies to volunteer as hosts for the press conference and selected the Furniture Bank location, a 30,000 square-foot facility in South Etobicoke that receives and organizes furniture donations.
Sister Anne explained why Furniture Bank is involved in the Streets to Homes program. "Streets to Home refers people to us, because you can't move a person off the street into an empty apartment. They'd rather find a bed in a shelter," she said. "There are thousands of people in Canada without furniture. Together, we can reduce that number one family at a time."
As of 2014, Furniture Bank has recycled over 300,000 items of furniture and supported over 60,000 clients, receiving referrals from over 70 social service agencies. Click here for more information on how to donate furniture at www.furniturebank.org.
Photo courtesy of Furniture Bank