A story of the twin crises of COVID-19 and homelessness

In Toronto, as in many other cities in Canada and the United States, the coronavirus crisis is twinned with a different crisis: homelessness.

Sometimes all it takes is one person to illustrate how the system is failing.

Miriam* has struggled with housing for years. A couple of years ago, when her landlord ended her lease, she was unable to find another apartment that she could afford. Despite days and days on the phone with central intake, she could not get into a city shelter in Toronto. She was eventually advised by a housing worker to go to London, Ontario (a city of about 400,000 two hours drive away) – where she still could not get a shelter bed. She spent several nights in a McDonald’s until she was taken in by a local church.

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