On Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, members of the community are encouraged to attend a special hip-hop concert in support of the Integrated Care Hub (the ICH or “the Hub”). The event, which will feature performances from Keaton, 92Rare, Dirty Doc, and S-cape Artist, will be a fundraiser for the 2 Things Missing Project, which hopes to secure winter survival kits to help those experiencing homelessness during the cold winter months.
According to Kelli McIsaac, Activities and Events Coordinator at the ICH, the kits will provide a safe way for individuals to stay warm in the winter.
“Staying warm is the biggest challenge for those outside,” she said. “Last winter, we had several of the tents catch on fire. All they were doing was trying not to freeze to death. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but what a terrible choice to have to make: freeze, or take the risk and possibly die in a fire.”
Organizers are hoping to raise $10,000 for the project, with Thursday’s event serving as a major fundraiser for the initiative. As McIsaac explained, the name of the project was inspired by the two things individuals experiencing homelessness need most: home and safe supply.
“No one, no matter who you are, can thrive if you don’t even have a place you can call home. So one of the missing pieces is just that: a home,” she said. “The other missing piece is safe supply. This is the more controversial piece that some people have a hard time to get their head around.”
McIsaac noted that due to the ongoing drug poisoning epidemic, the issue of safe supply is as important now as ever before: “If [safe supply] doesn’t happen, we will continue to lose beautiful souls who are daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, and friends. We who work at the Hub feel blessed because we get to know these people. But it can be soul-crushing to lose them, at the same time. In Ontario, we lose eight people every day due to an accidental overdose.”
As for why organizers decided on a hip-hop concert for the fundraiser, McIsaac noted the genre was inspired by one of the residents at the ICH. “What inspired me to do a hip-hop fundraiser is a young man who stays at the Hub. He is a gifted freestyle rapper. When we [have lost] someone due to overdose, he has performed at a few of the celebrations of life we have had at the Hub,” she noted.
McIsaac added, “I am hoping he comes to the event on Thursday and I can convince him to get up on the stage.”
In total, there will be four hip-hop performances from up-and-coming local artists. Aside from the music, attendees will also hear from Justine McIsaac, who will speak to the issue of safe supply.
“She is a dynamic speaker who can easily keep you engaged and pull on your heartstrings as well. Justine runs the Consumption Treatment Centre at the Hub. We also have a video and an overdose simulation and training on naloxone for those [interested],” said Kelli McIsaac, noting there will also be a raffle during the concert, with a wide range of prizes available.
Thursday’s event will take place at the Broom Factory (305 Rideau Street) beginning at 7:30 p.m., with doors set to open at 7 p.m. Admission is $10, with proceeds going to support the 2 Things Missing Project. For those who cannot make it to the Broom Factory on Thursday night, there are other ways to support the initiative: monetary donations can be dropped off at the ICH or made online through Trellis HIV and Community Care. In both cases, McIsaac recommends donors specify their contribution is for the 2 Things Missing Project.
Aside from financial donations, project organizers are also looking for physical items for the winter survival kits, including sleeping bags, tents, toques, gloves, socks, winter coats, battery-operated heaters, or anything else that would help keep people warm during the winter.
“Show the people we serve love. You may not understand their walk, but it could be your walk someday,” McIssac mused.
More information about Thursday’s fundraising concert can be found on the official event Facebook page.