COVID-19 is a major threat to the health of people experiencing homelessness in Canada. COVID-19 tends to spread rapidly in shelters, and people experiencing homelessness are at high risk of poor outcomes if they develop COVID-19.
Reliable, longitudinal, epidemiologic data is urgently needed to guide public health and housing responses to prevent and control COVID-19 outbreaks in homeless populations across Canada, and to understand if current efforts to control COVID-19 (e.g. through creation of new shelter spaces, relocation of individuals to hotels) are effective.
About the Study
Over the next year, the COVENANT study will check in regularly with approximately 700 people experiencing homelessness in Toronto. We will track their COVID-19 symptoms, interactions with the health-care and shelter system, and the places they’ve stayed overnight.
Based on what we learn, we will create an in-depth, continuously updated mathematical model to accurately track and predict COVID-19 infection in Toronto’s homeless population.
This is a longitudinal study, which means it collects data about people over a period of time. Our data collection will be managed by the MAP Survey Research Unit. They are experts in following and interviewing hard-to-reach populations such as people experiencing homelessness and/or mental health challenges.
The actionable, real-time data generated through this study will reveal the patterns and trajectory of COVID-19 in the homeless population, and will help us better understand what works to prevent, detect and manage COVID-19 in this high-risk group. Through established policy and service-provider relationships and major investment through the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (Government of Canada), this data will be rapidly applied to inform and improve COVID-19 responses in cities across Canada.