The World Health Organization declared a global outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on March 11th, 2020. The virus is two times more deadly than the influenza virus and can cause a plethora of deleterious health outcomes. Additionally, COVID-19 poses a particular risk for those who already suffer from, or who have, a higher risk of suffering from pre-existing medical conditions, such as populations experiencing homelessness. However, the COVID-19 pandemic provides Canada with the opportunity to re-evaluate homelessness responses and services to address the systemic barriers that disproportionally affect equity-deserving populations.
This report summarizes how COVID-19 has impacted those identifying as women, indigenous, and LGBTQI2S as well as people who use drugs (PWUD), visible minorities, immigrants, and those who are currently or who were formerly incarcerated. The report also summarizes how agencies and governments have responded to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on these populations. Any strategies and recommendations presented in this report are intended to be suggestive and exploratory as opposed to prescriptive. That is, this paper is to serve as a starting point for readers interested in doing more research on topics related to COVID-19 and equity-deserving groups. Additionally, the purpose of this report is to learn from the global response to the pandemic and understand the various responses to the pandemic to assist with informing regional practice, program, and policy decision making.