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Study finds Toronto residents want community organizations to deliver programs close to home, at convenient times and locations, and with stable funding

Toronto, September 22, 2011

Community Service System in Toronto neighbourhoods: What should the City pay attention to?The CRICH report "Community Service System in Toronto neighbourhoods: What should the City pay attention to?" was released on September 22, 2011. The complete study can be downloaded from the CRICH web page.

By Leslie Shepherd

Torontonians want non-profit organizations to provide programs and services in their neighbourhoods that are relevant to their needs, held at convenient times and locations and have stable funding, a research study has found.

People under 25 and without post-secondary education also want these organizations to help them find jobs and become financially stable, the study found.

The study was conducted between December and July by St. Michael’s Hospital’s Centre for Research on Inner City Health (CRICH). Researchers asked Torontonians what they thought the city should pay attention to when it comes to community services in their neighbourhoods, ranging from boys and girls clubs to community gardens, drop in programs for seniors, or mentorship and job skills programs for newcomers and youths.

Patricia O’Campo, one of the authors of the study and the director of CRICH, said the results were particularly significant because the people surveyed were asked open-ended questions about what was important to them and what the city should pay attention to. Respondents provided their own answers rather than choosing from a list of options selected by the surveyors.

O’Campo, an epidemiologist, said the results were also important because they were consistent across all neighbourhoods of the city and ethnic and demographic groups.

“Torontonians don't want to have to leave their neighbourhoods to get the programs they need,” O’Campo said. “They want programs to be available and accessible. They also want community organizations to have stable funding, so services aren't interrupted because they run out of money.”

The results come as Toronto City Council debates possibly wide-ranging service and program cuts in an effort to eliminate a budget deficit.

The complete study can be downloaded from the CRICH web page.