Langara Students Taking Initiative on Homeless Crisis

From hygiene packs to naloxone certification the Langara Society For Homeless Health is taking big steps in its first year

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By Shashi Goel

Langara College students are providing toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, baby wipes and other hygiene products to homeless people in Vancouver.

Students have created the Langara Society For Homeless Health to try to help homeless people in Vancouver amid a housing and healthcare crisis.

“This is our problem because anyone can be homeless, it could be me, it could be anyone in this club, could be anyone on campus,” said the society president Ida Niksirat

According to the municipal government, Vancouver has 2,095 residents identified as homeless in 2020.

“It makes me sad how … human beings have the tendency to judge and degrade someone but not help others out,” said club member Gur Aanchal Turna. “I feel like this club stands for the notion, you want the change then be the change.”

Looking to make a difference

The society is raising funds to provide hygiene kits to homeless people and discussing social topics each Wednesday.

Hygiene kits — funded through donations — include a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, baby wipes, tissue packs, nail clippers, combs, lip balm, shampoo and conditioner, razors and shaving cream, hand lotion, deodorant, and pain relievers.

“Being seen as unclean is a lot of the reason why homeless people are discriminated against, it’s also a terrible feeling, plus it makes any medical conditions that you have much worse so hygiene is a top priority,” said Niksirat.

Expanding their knowledge

The club started offering Naloxone certification training to club members with the collaboration of the Langara College nursing department.

“We’re going to do it as a club because one of the biggest risk factors for people our age is dying of fentanyl overdose,” said Niksirat.

The club attracts students from different areas of study such as society vice president Lana Aziz who is a nutrition major.

“I just think that having sound nutrition and food accessible to everybody is such a huge important thing in society and the fact that they don’t get access to that is heartbreaking, because that leads to more health concerns,” said Aziz.

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