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SORT Pilot Project

As an urban campus in the heart of one of the busiest intersections in the downtown core, we recognize as part of our commitment to developing a uniquely TMU approach to safety and well-being on campus, we have a role to play in contributing to the resilience of our neighborhood. To do this, Community Safety and Security has developed a community-engagement approach to help us support safety on campus. 

As part of this, in Spring 2022, Community Safety and Security‚Äôs Community Engagement team launched the Strategic Outreach and Response Team (SORT) pilot project to engage community agencies in partnership to collaboratively address challenges in the area. 

What do the SORT pilot project team members do? 

Through the SORT pilot project, members of the Community Safety and Security team collaborate with our community partners to respond to incidents on and around campus that impact TMU and the greater downtown community. The collaborations include engaging in outreach walks, training seminars and safety planning, as well as problem-solving in neighbourhood partnerships, and following up together on security occurrences and concerns. 

At the same time, Community Safety and Security staff also provide additional support, including: 

  • emergency medical response
  • administering Naloxone
  • de-escalating potentially violent situations

Why is the SORT initiative important? 

University campuses are porous spaces, especially one as centralized and embedded in the heart of our downtown core as TMU. The scope and complexity of the mental health and addiction issues impacting street-involved individuals who live in the areas surrounding our campus continue to increase. A community-centric approach that focuses on service and referrals is an important contribution towards building the resilience of the area.  

As we recognize TMU is part of a larger community, to make this work successful, we have partnered with a number of external downtown agencies including:

  • Toronto Public Health, 
  • Streets 2 Homes, 
  • Downtown Yonge BIA, 
  • Covenant House, and 
  • Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services

Identified benefits to the TMU and broader community include:

  • rapid-response support and crisis intervention for non-violent crisis situations
  • provides a continuum of care through case management with partnerships
  • team provides trauma-informed care
  • when possible, it allows for non-uniform response for reports of Sexual Violence