Random Acts of Canadian | Serving Toronto’s LGBTQ2S Communities
Random Acts of Canadian by RBC

Serving Toronto’s LGBTQ2S Communities

The 519 transformed its operations in the wake of COVID-19 to continue its support for Toronto’s LGBTQ2S communities and Downtown East. In normal times, The 519 offers in-person services such as counselling, drop-in programs and opportunities for social connection. When the centre closed its doors to the public due to the pandemic, staff moved quickly to meet the new reality and address the amplified need for support. Food scarcity has been a pressing issue for all marginalized communities since the pandemic began. To help, The 519 changed its drop-in food program to a takeaway service, giving staff a welcome chance to check in on people and distribute essential resources. To date, The 519 has served 16,106 takeaway meals and distributed thousands of items of donated clothing, hygiene supplies and harm reduction kits, in addition to completing 607 community calls through its Friendly Check-In program. The 519 has shifted some of its largest and most popular programs to virtual platforms to provide much needed continuity during the shutdown. The organization offers virtual crisis counselling, virtual newcomer and refugee settlement support, virtual legal support, a virtual tax clinic and, still forthcoming, a Trans ID clinic. As a self-described “Army of Lovers,” The 519 staff remains committed to fighting violence, promoting awareness and advocating for equity and justice on behalf of those in need.

Date: August 17 2020

Submitted by: Stacy K

Location: Toronto, ON