Ending homelessness: Will you join us to build a COVID-19 recovery for all?

Today I am appreciative to Tim Richter, President & CEO, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, for engaging us all in what promises to be a very effective campaign to end homelessness, once and for all. Tim’s message is so simple and so powerful: Yes, we want to go back to normal, but not a normal where more than a quarter of a million Canadians are homeless. Not a normal where we look the other way as vulnerable people suffer injustice and discrimination. Not a normal where so many people do not have shelter and basic needs. Not a normal where “recovery” means some people recover and others remain homeless, excluded and unhealthy. We need a recovery for all! I urge each of you to read and take action.

As healthcare professionals, you’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact that the co-occurring and cumulative crises of homelessness, the opioid crises and now a pandemic can have on people who are homeless. COVID-19 is layering on yet another assault, one with widespread and damaging consequences. Meanwhile, governments across Canada are starting to re-open the economy and people are talking about getting back to normal.

There can be no getting back to normal. Normal was more than 235,000 Canadians per year homeless and at life-threatening risk for no other reason than they were poor and without a home.

That’s why the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness is launching Recovery for All. This campaign calls on our federal government to make the right investments in a post-COVID recovery, stimulate the economy and help those who need it most. If done right, this recovery effort can not only restore the country’s financial health, it can end homeless in Canada, once and for all. 

I want to be clear about two things: First, homelessness policy choices were made more than 30 years ago. And second, as we recover from COVID-19, we need to ensure that the government invests not only in industry, but in people. And most importantly, we must make sure people experiencing homelessness are not excluded yet again. A recovery for all. 

We are at a unique moment in time when big change is possible, and we can finally begin to reverse the policy choices that first put people on Canadian streets and kept them there, generation after generation.  

Thank you for your work on the frontlines, keeping people safe and putting yourselves at risk every day to care for those in need. In addition to this incalculable service, we need something else:  your powerful voice. Now more than ever, we need your voice to push for permanent support for the most vulnerable people in the country – a push for housing for people who are homeless.  We need the healthcare community’s collective call for housing, a home not only for protection against the pandemic, but for health.

Will you join us?


Today, Tuesday, May 26, take action:

  • Sign up for the campaign at www.recoveryforall.ca.
  • Send out a personal and organizational email to your contacts (Board, staff, supporters, volunteers, donors, friends and relatives) to encourage them to sign up while also sharing our campaign website and video.
  • Share the campaign website on social media through your personal and organization pages (making sure to add a comment as to why you are supporting the campaign).

Homelessness as we see it today has not always been with us. It is a solvable problem. We know what it takes to end homelessness. It is captured in the Recovery for All campaign’s six-point plan including:

  1. A federal commitment (with timelines and targets) to the prevention and elimination of homelessness, with expanded federal investment in community-based homelessness responses.
  2. A national guaranteed minimum income to ensure those in greatest need have minimum financial resources to help them meet their basic needs and prevent homelessness when times are tough.
  3. Construction of 300,000 new permanently affordable and supportive housing units and enhanced support for low-income Canadians to address Canada’s housing and homelessness crisis.
  4. Meaningful implementation of the right to housing to surface and resolve inequities and systemic/structural breakdowns that contribute to homelessness and housing need.
  5. Implementation of measures to curtail the impacts of financialization of rental housing markets by limiting the ability of large capital to purchase ‘distressed’ rental housing assets.
  6. Implementation of an Urban and Rural Indigenous Housing and Homelessness Strategy that is developed and implemented by urban, rural and Northern Indigenous peoples and housing and service providers.

For more information on our six-point plan, please visit recoveryforall.ca.

The choices we make today will shape Canada’s future for a long time. Half of the hard work is knowing what to do – and that work is complete.  Let’s now make choices that will build a better Canada for all. 

Thank you for all that you do and have done to keep our homeless neighbours safe and healthy. To that end, please add your voice and join us.

RNAO’s response: Thanks again to Tim Richter. RNAO adds its voice to the campaign and will spread the message far and wide: There is no recovery, if some are left behind. The time to end homelessness is now. This is why we urge every one of our readers to go to recoveryforall.ca and take action!