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According to Statistics Canada, more than 235,000 people experience homelessness in any given year, with 25,000-35,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night. During the pandemic, health issues were exacerbated for people experiencing homelessness. Shelters were often crowded and faced outbreaks. One study found that homeless people were over 20 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 and over 5 times more likely to die within 21 days of a positive test result.
Dr. Andrew Boozary is the executive director of social medicine and population health at the University Health Network in Toronto. He tells us why homelessness is a failure of policy – not individual choice – and how he’s working to fix it.