6 min read
07 November 2023

Toronto artists raise voices and funds to fight homelessness and support WoodGreen

Susan Fuehr, Communications Consultant

One line in the song Richard Todd wrote hits harder than any other: The tales they tell could be ours as well. The Toronto songwriter says it’s why he recorded the song “The Forgotten Homeless” and why he’s directing proceeds to the WoodGreen Foundation.

“Homelessness can happen to anyone,” he says, “we’re all a lot closer to becoming one of Toronto’s homeless than we might think. We cannot look away and say we don’t see what’s happening in our city.”

Listen to the Song “Toronto’s Forgotten Homeless”

Musicians donate talent and time for homeless

Earlier this summer, Todd gathered 13 musicians, along with the help of producer Chris Birkett to record a song he wrote to raise awareness about homelessness in the city.

The singers, all from the GTA, are collectively dubbed “Artists Against Homelessness”. They range in age from the teenage Anna Goldsmith to more seasoned veterans of the music industry like Todd.

This past July the artists donated their time and talents to help turn Todd’s song into a rallying cry for action on homelessness in the city.

Singer songwriter Richard Todd wears a black shirt and plays a white guitar with a quote about Toronto's homeless population

Guitarist’s plea became a ‘wake-up call’

The idea for the song came to Todd a few years back when he was playing a gig with his band Redpath Traffic at The Painted Lady pub in Toronto. One of the musicians playing during an open mic ended his performance by asking if anyone had a couch for him to crash on because he was homeless, recalls Todd.

“He was just a young guy in his early twenties,” he says, “and it was really a big wake-up call that the homelessness problem is really growing again.” He wondered if coupling his musical talent with his passion for helping people who need shelter might be able to make a difference.

Todd has previously organized a Warm it Up! Campaign which donated more than 2,000 coffee cards to Toronto’s street homeless in its first year. He then added a “Sock Patrol” component to provide warm socks to those in need.

“For this song I wanted to bring Toronto independent artists together to sing, to show that we are a community, we are united, and we want to help solve this growing crisis in the city.”

 

Streaming song creates donations

A friend heard about the project and connected Todd with Teresa Vasilopoulos, Executive Director of The WoodGreen Foundation. “She explained WoodGreen’s UNMETNeeds Campaign and it seemed like the perfect fit for what we wanted to achieve.”

Every time the song is streamed on services such as Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Music, the royalties are donated to WoodGreen’s UNMET Needs Campaign.

“We are so grateful to the artists and musicians who donated their time to create this song,” says Vasilopoulous. “Its lyrics address so many of the issues we see as we work toward being a part of the solution for those UNhoused in Toronto.”

The four-minute ballad, which leans toward country-rock, touches on addiction, domestic violence as well as families on the street.

“The point is that these are people just like you, who need help and understanding,” says Todd. “Ultimately, we all suffer as a community when someone else is suffering.”

“Toronto’s Forgotten Homeless” is available on most streaming services as well as YouTube. To donate directly to WoodGreen’s UNMET Needs Campaign, please visit: http://woodgreen.org/unmet-donate

 

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