'They're desperate, they don't want to lose their babies': Need for safe housing grows
LONDON, ONT. -- A tweet by Dr. Andrea Sereda, concerned about pregnant women her team cares for, has been generating a lot of attention online.
The tweet reads in part, "These women will lose their babies because we don’t care enough to house them."
“There are several women in the Dundas corridor who are in various stages of pregnancy who are just sleeping rough, which means they are sleeping on the concrete without the aid of a tent, tarp or sleeping bag,” says Sereda, who is a family physician at the InterCommunity Health Centre.
She says she’s concerned about these women’s health as well as the health of their babies.
“It’s really hard to have a healthy pregnancy when you don’t have regular access to food, when you don’t have anywhere safe to sleep, when you don’t what time of day it is, and it’s hard to access all your medical appointments.”
Sereda tweeted out to the City of London and the mayor, in a call for action, “COVID has really highlited what we actually can do when we decide people are worthwhile to save,” she says.
City officials say they are aware of the situation and are currently working with several pregnant homeless women to provide them not only shelter but permanent housing.
“We do have housing programs working with them and trying to get them paper ready so they can sign a lease to then look for housing and become permanently housed,” says Craig Cooper, manager of homeless prevention for the city.
“We are finding solutions, we’re getting people connected to our support services whether it’s a light touch rental supplement to a light touch housing support worker, all the way to a high needs individual.”
However, Sereda says the women she is referring to and worried about are still waiting for safe shelter and believes action needs be taken right away.
“They’re desperate, they don’t want to lose their babies and again there is only so much we can do. If we don’t house them, their babies will be taken into care. This can’t be a three-year plan to build supportive housing, winter is almost here now and we need action this week, today, to move these people off the street.”