Health care brought to the homeless

(Toronto Sun, Antonella Artuso )

A new pilot project will bring health-care services like wound care into five Toronto shelters instead of forcing residents to go looking for the help they need.

Alex Zsager, a former shelter resident who now serves as an advocate and adviser on homelessness, said depression, anxiety and despair set in when you enter a shelter.

"And this is compounded even more if you have any other health or mental health needs," Zsager said. "There are far too long wait times for psychiatrists, GPs and other services, which is putting a great strain on our hospitals'emergency rooms.

"Wait times for such services can be as long as six months to a year and this is unacceptable and ridiculous," he said.

Provincial Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins announced the health-care pilot project Tuesday at the Hope Shelter just opened by the Salvation Army in Leslieville.

A man listening to the announcement appeared to lose consciousness and fall face first onto the shelter's concrete floor, so organizers paused the media conference while Hoskins and others cared for him until emergency services arrived.

"I think we just saw a good example of why we need health care in our (shelter) system," Zsager said. aartuso@postmedia.com

COPYRIGHT: 2018 Sun Media Corporation. All rights reserved.

IDNUMBER 201801240077
DOCID: 318960368
PUBLICATION: Toronto Sun
PAGE: A6
DATE: 2018.01.24
SECTION: News
EDITION: Final
BYLINE: Antonella Artuso
SOURCE: Toronto Sun
KEYWORDS: pilot,project,bring,services,wound,toronto
WORD COUNT: 201