“From a public health perspective, and from a health care perspective, and from a well-being, and caring about humans perspective — there are no benefits to what has happened, there are only downsides,” Jesse Jenkinson said, a public health researcher with the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions in Toronto.
Jenkinson’s research focuses on the widening gaps in health and social services for people who experience houselessness.
She says the increasing number of forcible, police-led evictions of people sleeping rough in encampments across Canada highlights the need for governments to start investing in supportive housing.
“What we really need to do is just create spaces that people can move into. Encampments exist because there’s nowhere else for people to go,” she said.
Jenkinson says residents who move into social housing settings, like modular units, need a wide range of social supports in order to help them stabilize their lives.
“Case manager supports, harm reduction supports, mental health supports, these are all really necessary social services to help keep people housed and keep their well-being supported. Without these supports, people can fall back into homelessness,” she said.