Cota Staff Stepping Up to Help Out

2017-18 Emergency Winter Respite Centres

Toronto contended with extended periods of extreme cold weather and significant pressures on its emergency shelter system this past winter. Cota stepped up to help out by providing by providing valuable assistance and support to emergency winter respite centres that were opened at Moss Park Armoury and Davenport Rd. sites. Thank you to the following Cota staff who agreed to be reassigned from their regular duties to provide assistance during this initiative:


Mary Lou Holm


Jason Medford


Miranda Bicanic


Diane Versace


Jeannette Kruger


Robin Sarniak


Andrew Graham


Robert Giddings

2018 Toronto Street Needs Assessment

The 2018 Toronto Street Needs Assessment (SNA) was a city-wide initiative that took place on the evening of April 26th. Teams comprised of Team Leads and Volunteer Surveyors, surveyed Toronto (either by walking outside or visiting city shelters indoors) with two goals in mind:

  • to gather a census of people experiencing homelessness in Toronto
  • to conduct a 23-question survey

This initiative was part of the federal government’s national coordinated point-in-time count. Results will be included in the 2018 national snapshot of homelessness. The provincial government has recently made local homeless enumeration on a bi-annual basis a requirement for municipalities in order to receive funding for homelessness services.

Thank you to all Cota staff who volunteered their time to participate in the 2018 Street Needs Assessment (*the list below was sent to Cota from the City and may not include all those who volunteered):


Arlene Alexander


Dolly Satranee Ghanie-Kassim


Laverne Blair


Heather McKay


Angelo Corriero


Jennifer O'Brien


Michael Deng


Althea Parkinson


Deana Fahmy


Cassandra Robinson


Lubomyra Senkiw


Onicka Young

Here are some comments and feedback from Cota staff who volunteered their time:

Cassandra Robinson (Team Lead, Cota) signed-up to volunteer for the SNA because she wanted the opportunity to be a part of a meaningful cause that voiced the opinions and concerns of those experiencing homelessness. She also hopes that this exercise will bring forth change and offer new resources for those experiencing homelessness.

The SNA went extremely well. I had the best experience of my life. I was a team lead at a shelter for refugees. I met the most wonderful, caring and special women and their children. The night went by so quickly and before we knew it was time to return to the field office. I would recommend being a part of a SNA to everyone.

Kathy LaBrosse (Team Lead)
Volunteers in the street needs assessment
SNA leads in the community
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SNA leads in the community

Meeting and speaking with different individuals, regardless of their needs, made this night special. It was a worthwhile learning experience!

Laverne Blair (Team Lead)
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