University students spend night on the street to raise awareness

News Feb 01, 2012 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

Students from three Toronto post-secondary institutions took to the streets Jan. 27, sleeping outside to raise awareness and funds in support of affordable housing.

Ryerson University, the University of Toronto and George Brown College students camped out overnight in makeshift wooden shacks at Gould and Bond streets, drawing attention to the good work being done by Habitat for Humanity. They occupied the street for 24 hours, from 7 a.m. Friday until 7 a.m. Saturday.

While sleeping outside in late January was hardly an ideal way to spend a Friday night, the cause made it all worthwhile, said Aryan Esgandanian of Ryerson's Habitat Campus Coalition.

"We have to fight for affordable housing because it's a basic right," she said. "Everyone should have a home."

While the students had security and medical staff available and had access to campus buildings should they need to warm up briefly, Esgandanian knows not everyone has those same privileges.

"The cold weather will be hard, but it's important to get the word out," she said Friday afternoon. "It's eye-opening - to have individuals who have to do this all the time, we get to see a little bit how hard it is."

Ryerson spokesperson Lesley d'Souza said the school was happy to lend a campus street to the cause, noting the students led the charge to hold the event and did the work to organize it.

"We always, always strive to support our students both academically and with opportunities to engage civically," she said. "It's part of our mandate to help them reach their full potential in contributing to the city."

The shacks were tiny, designed to house up to five students apiece, though the schools sent more students to support the cause. Habitat for Humanity volunteers stood outside with coin boxes collecting donations from passers-by on the busy campus street.

Felister Mburu and her three children, recently selected as a Habitat for Humanity partner family, also attended the event. The foursome currently live in a small apartment in Scarborough after years of moving on a near-annual basis. Having their own home will make an immense difference in their lives.

"I'm not happy with the home where I live and I always wanted to move and go to a better area," Mburu said, adding she is using sweat equity in working for Habitat in lieu of the cost of a down payment. "The home will also give me stability which has been lacking for me up to now."

She noted having her own house will allow her children to have safe places to play and live and will allow herself, 18-year-old son James, seven-year-old daughter Monica and six-year-old daughter Caroline to have their own space instead of living in tight quarters. When her new home is completed, it will allow her to finally enjoy a space she will be proud to call home after years of feeling as though such an ambition was out of reach.

"We all share dreams of good homes but sometimes we have to postpone our dreams," she said.

James Mburu noted there are still countless people who need similar help. Like his mother, he looks forward to the days when the family will have a full-sized home where they can live happily and thanked Habitat for Humanity for making it possible.

"Having my mom smile, it's a joy in my heart and puts a smile on my face, too," he said.

Habitat for Humanity CEO Neil Hetherington dropped by the site to lend his own support to the initiative. He said he was inspired by the students' generosity of spirit and the time and effort they were putting in to help draw attention to the problems of homelessness and underhousing.

"I am so grateful to each volunteer who will be out here 24 hours," he said. "It's important (they) do this not because they know there are people in this city who are disadvantaged but because (they) know they are equal."

For more information on Habitat for Humanity, visit www.habitat.ca

University students spend night on the street to raise awareness

Participants camped out in tiny wooden shacks on campus street

News Feb 01, 2012 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

Students from three Toronto post-secondary institutions took to the streets Jan. 27, sleeping outside to raise awareness and funds in support of affordable housing.

Ryerson University, the University of Toronto and George Brown College students camped out overnight in makeshift wooden shacks at Gould and Bond streets, drawing attention to the good work being done by Habitat for Humanity. They occupied the street for 24 hours, from 7 a.m. Friday until 7 a.m. Saturday.

While sleeping outside in late January was hardly an ideal way to spend a Friday night, the cause made it all worthwhile, said Aryan Esgandanian of Ryerson's Habitat Campus Coalition.

"We have to fight for affordable housing because it's a basic right," she said. "Everyone should have a home."

Related Content

While the students had security and medical staff available and had access to campus buildings should they need to warm up briefly, Esgandanian knows not everyone has those same privileges.

"The cold weather will be hard, but it's important to get the word out," she said Friday afternoon. "It's eye-opening - to have individuals who have to do this all the time, we get to see a little bit how hard it is."

Ryerson spokesperson Lesley d'Souza said the school was happy to lend a campus street to the cause, noting the students led the charge to hold the event and did the work to organize it.

"We always, always strive to support our students both academically and with opportunities to engage civically," she said. "It's part of our mandate to help them reach their full potential in contributing to the city."

The shacks were tiny, designed to house up to five students apiece, though the schools sent more students to support the cause. Habitat for Humanity volunteers stood outside with coin boxes collecting donations from passers-by on the busy campus street.

Felister Mburu and her three children, recently selected as a Habitat for Humanity partner family, also attended the event. The foursome currently live in a small apartment in Scarborough after years of moving on a near-annual basis. Having their own home will make an immense difference in their lives.

"I'm not happy with the home where I live and I always wanted to move and go to a better area," Mburu said, adding she is using sweat equity in working for Habitat in lieu of the cost of a down payment. "The home will also give me stability which has been lacking for me up to now."

She noted having her own house will allow her children to have safe places to play and live and will allow herself, 18-year-old son James, seven-year-old daughter Monica and six-year-old daughter Caroline to have their own space instead of living in tight quarters. When her new home is completed, it will allow her to finally enjoy a space she will be proud to call home after years of feeling as though such an ambition was out of reach.

"We all share dreams of good homes but sometimes we have to postpone our dreams," she said.

James Mburu noted there are still countless people who need similar help. Like his mother, he looks forward to the days when the family will have a full-sized home where they can live happily and thanked Habitat for Humanity for making it possible.

"Having my mom smile, it's a joy in my heart and puts a smile on my face, too," he said.

Habitat for Humanity CEO Neil Hetherington dropped by the site to lend his own support to the initiative. He said he was inspired by the students' generosity of spirit and the time and effort they were putting in to help draw attention to the problems of homelessness and underhousing.

"I am so grateful to each volunteer who will be out here 24 hours," he said. "It's important (they) do this not because they know there are people in this city who are disadvantaged but because (they) know they are equal."

For more information on Habitat for Humanity, visit www.habitat.ca

University students spend night on the street to raise awareness

Participants camped out in tiny wooden shacks on campus street

News Feb 01, 2012 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

Students from three Toronto post-secondary institutions took to the streets Jan. 27, sleeping outside to raise awareness and funds in support of affordable housing.

Ryerson University, the University of Toronto and George Brown College students camped out overnight in makeshift wooden shacks at Gould and Bond streets, drawing attention to the good work being done by Habitat for Humanity. They occupied the street for 24 hours, from 7 a.m. Friday until 7 a.m. Saturday.

While sleeping outside in late January was hardly an ideal way to spend a Friday night, the cause made it all worthwhile, said Aryan Esgandanian of Ryerson's Habitat Campus Coalition.

"We have to fight for affordable housing because it's a basic right," she said. "Everyone should have a home."

Related Content

While the students had security and medical staff available and had access to campus buildings should they need to warm up briefly, Esgandanian knows not everyone has those same privileges.

"The cold weather will be hard, but it's important to get the word out," she said Friday afternoon. "It's eye-opening - to have individuals who have to do this all the time, we get to see a little bit how hard it is."

Ryerson spokesperson Lesley d'Souza said the school was happy to lend a campus street to the cause, noting the students led the charge to hold the event and did the work to organize it.

"We always, always strive to support our students both academically and with opportunities to engage civically," she said. "It's part of our mandate to help them reach their full potential in contributing to the city."

The shacks were tiny, designed to house up to five students apiece, though the schools sent more students to support the cause. Habitat for Humanity volunteers stood outside with coin boxes collecting donations from passers-by on the busy campus street.

Felister Mburu and her three children, recently selected as a Habitat for Humanity partner family, also attended the event. The foursome currently live in a small apartment in Scarborough after years of moving on a near-annual basis. Having their own home will make an immense difference in their lives.

"I'm not happy with the home where I live and I always wanted to move and go to a better area," Mburu said, adding she is using sweat equity in working for Habitat in lieu of the cost of a down payment. "The home will also give me stability which has been lacking for me up to now."

She noted having her own house will allow her children to have safe places to play and live and will allow herself, 18-year-old son James, seven-year-old daughter Monica and six-year-old daughter Caroline to have their own space instead of living in tight quarters. When her new home is completed, it will allow her to finally enjoy a space she will be proud to call home after years of feeling as though such an ambition was out of reach.

"We all share dreams of good homes but sometimes we have to postpone our dreams," she said.

James Mburu noted there are still countless people who need similar help. Like his mother, he looks forward to the days when the family will have a full-sized home where they can live happily and thanked Habitat for Humanity for making it possible.

"Having my mom smile, it's a joy in my heart and puts a smile on my face, too," he said.

Habitat for Humanity CEO Neil Hetherington dropped by the site to lend his own support to the initiative. He said he was inspired by the students' generosity of spirit and the time and effort they were putting in to help draw attention to the problems of homelessness and underhousing.

"I am so grateful to each volunteer who will be out here 24 hours," he said. "It's important (they) do this not because they know there are people in this city who are disadvantaged but because (they) know they are equal."

For more information on Habitat for Humanity, visit www.habitat.ca