As a physician and researcher on homelessness, I’m a witness to the intersecting health crises that affect people who don’t have adequate housing. COVID-19 is only one of them. For years, my colleagues and I have treated infections and overdoses, chronic diseases, injuries and mental health issues among people experiencing homelessness. We have been applying Band-Aids, addressing only the most visible symptoms of a continuing crisis.
The pandemic has forced us to confront the consequences of having allowed homelessness to persist in our cities for far too long. Canadians living on low incomes in crowded conditions have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19. In Toronto alone, more than 500 people experiencing homelessness have been infected with the coronavirus. As case numbers rise and the colder months move us indoors, adequate shelter is more important than ever. Read the rest of this opinion article at The Globe and Mail…
Dr. Stephen Hwang is director of the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at Unity Health Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital.
Image: iStock (Montreal, Canada – January 10, 2017: A homeless woman is asking passersby for money, while covered in blankets, in downtown Montreal, in winter.)