COVID-19 will “absolutely exacerbate homelessness in Canada,” say advocates

Creating national systemic change

Why It Matters

Approximately 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness each year, and there are even more who are underhoused. Housing advocates say these figures may increase, due to economic instability during the coronavirus pandemic. Our fifth story in partnership with United Way Centraide Canada examines how a movement to close the housing gap influenced the federal government’s first national housing strategy.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians — an estimated 235,000 — find themselves experiencing homelessness each year. These Canadians are some of the most vulnerable, without any real way to practice social distancing, to avoid getting COVID-19, adding to the many reasons homelessness is a national emergency.

Not only is the pandemic placing a spotlight on homelessness in Canada — it could end up exacerbating it, too. Michèle Biss, a human rights lawyer and project manager with the National Right to Housing Network, says the economic pressure brought on by the coronavirus will lead to increased housing insecurity. “I am hearing from individuals across the country. There is so much fear around what’s going to happen as eviction bans are lifted for those people who haven’t been able to

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