Helping the homeless

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By Lucy Nersesian

Cleaning up the Yonge and Dundas area as part of the city’s redevelopment plan means sweeping away the area’s homeless.

While that’s good news for the city, businesses and residents, the remaining question is what happens to the homeless.

Ryerson students tackled this question in a forum this weekend analyzing how the Yonge and Dundas redevelopment, scheduled to start this spring, will affect the community, especially the homeless.

Students from social work, nursing, early childhood education, urban and regional planning, environmental health and nutrition got together to offer their suggestions on how to accommodate the homeless once Yonge and Dundas gets its facelift.

One group suggested taking one per cent of a business’ profit and giving it back to the community to develop affordable housing.

Nursing student Jamie Marcellus said empty rooms and washrooms in hospitals that will be closed should be sued as a form of housing.

Another group proposed non-profit, self-governed housing with a monthly $300 rent.

All five groups agreed Ryerson should offer courses on homelessness and poverty. Courses are now offered mostly to social work and urban and regional planning students.

“Ryerson wants to be a university that’s relevant … to make sure at least there are people thinking about these issues and finding solutions,” said Ryerson President Claude Lajeunesse. John Andros, co-founder of Project Warmth, agreed students should be getting involved.

They should use this research “as a stepping stone and get involved in what’s happening in our community.”

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