Social agencies pressing for vaccine rollout for London's homeless
LONDON, ONT. -- Communities across Ontario, including London, have plans in the works to vaccinate those experiencing homelessness.
Sarah Campbell from Ark Aid Street Mission on Dundas Street says for them the situation is urgent.
“It's been proven in research that when people who are living homeless or deprived of housing contract COVID that it is more lethal for them than for other populations and that's often because they're dealing with other chronic health concerns in many cases.”
She understands that administering the vaccine to the homeless population will be a challenge.
“You know with two injections, that could be a difficulty, with mental health and some of the other concerns that people are carrying with them.” says Campbell.
“You know convincing them that a vaccine is something that they can take will be a challenge, but regardless this is a vulnerable population and we would hope that the homeless would be served as soon as possible.”
The city’s Homeless Prevention and Housing Team along with the Middlesex-London Health Unit have been working on a plan for sometime.
Mayor Ed Holder says, “We know our homeless are truly the most vulnerable sector of this community and I have some optimism and would like to anticipate over the next number of weeks our homeless will be able to receive the vaccination.”
Middlesex-London Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie adds, “We’re hoping to get to those facilities as soon as possible and could be early April but it depends on a number of factors including provincial policy, vaccine supply and our capacity on the ground.”
Like everyone else Ark Aid would like to see a vaccine rollout quickly They deal with about 200 people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless every day.
Campbell says, “I can totally understand the tensions around who should be getting access first. You know there's so many people we love and care about in our community who need this vaccination and it will be a matter of time and patience. As a community we need to care about one another, this includes caring about our marginalized homeless population.”