Living on the street is hard. Dying there is even harder.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto (CCAT) and Saint Elizabeth Health Care (SE Health) joined His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins on February 6, 2023 in downtown Toronto as His Eminence blessed Journey Home Hospice, an innovative program providing end-of-life care for people experiencing homelessness. A current figure estimates approximately 8,500 people in the city are currently without a home.
Also in attendance were Don and Marta Buckley, who have joined with Catholic Charities in supporting a music and art therapy program for patients. The hospice will be dedicating a room in the residence, in honour of the W.K. Buckley Family.
“The reality is that Canadians are facing social issues of poverty, traumatic abuse that feeds into addiction, undiagnosed mental health impacts, and lack of opportunity at increasingly high rates," emphasized Nancy Lefebre, Senior Vice President, COO, SE Health. "We need donors like Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto, ShareLife, and the Buckley Family to join with us in our goal to do the right thing for all people, simply because it’s the right thing to do.”
Journey Home Hospice aims to improve equitable access to hospice palliative care for the homeless community in a socially innovative way, emphasizing the need for patient-centered care that acknowledges the often traumatic and heartbreaking stories of many patients. Increasing options for palliative care is essential, especially for people experiencing homelessness because it demonstrates a commitment to the value of all human life and speaks to our obligation to alleviate suffering whenever possible. Safe, comfortable, and welcoming options are needed for people from all backgrounds if we are to truly consider ourselves a society that values life.
CCAT’s involvement with Journey Home is reflective of their commitment to safeguarding and nurturing life at all stages, for all people. HopeLine, the recently launched telephone number (416-619-5700) serving people who are seeking information about local palliative care resources and services, is operated through Journey Home, and is yet another example of that commitment.
The Cardinal’s visit, along with members of CCAT, ShareLife, and the Buckley family, was a long-awaited opportunity for the archdiocese to celebrate and recognize the incredible and crucial work of the hospice.