The majority of people who were homeless at the beginning of the pandemic are still homeless. No one really knows the extent to which homelessness has grown due to economic evictions.

People working on and living the issues of poverty and homelessness are witness to the downstream impact of the structural denial of social housing, a liveable wage, or decent social assistance and pension rates. They knew the writing was on the wall decades ago. (Nod to the late Bishop Desmond Tutu who popularized the “upstream, downstream” concept.)

A look at some recent disease history in Toronto’s shelters shows the decades of neglect that has led to the current collapse of the shelter system under COVID-19.