Salvation Army addresses Toronto’s homeless problem
October 23, 2013 | Chris Powell | Comments
There is no question that #219 in Toronto is a fixer-upper. The exposed brick walls are covered in graffiti, the stone floor littered with cigarette butts, the roof completely missing.
It’s actually a fake address, part of a new awareness campaign for the Salvation Army developed by Cossette. House numbers have been placed in areas that tend to attract homeless people, such as park benches, bus shelters and stairwells.
Between 300 and 400 of the signs have been placed throughout Toronto, with a specific focus on the financial district and public parks. Each sign includes the message “No one should have to call this home,” and includes a call-to-action to “give hope to the homeless” by texting in a $5 donation.
Matt Litzinger, co-chief creative officer for Cossette, called the campaign a grassroots approach to a grassroots problem. “There are a lot of complicated reasons why it exists, but there’s nothing complicated about homelessness: you have nowhere to stay,” he said.
The campaign launched about two weeks ago and will continue through the holidays, a key period for the Salvation Army as temperatures drop and consumers open up their wallets.
Litzinger said that the campaign is intended to change the way people view homelessness by making it not about the people, who are often overlooked, but about where and how they live.
“We took the familiar aspect of addresses that you’re used to seeing on homes and regular dwellings and put them in unfamiliar places,” he said. “Any time you can cause someone to lean in, you’ve got them – and by seeing these addresses on park benches or graffiti covered walls or next to garbage dumps, they’re going to ‘lean in’ to see what it’s about. By the time they’ve finished reading, we’ve made our point.”