The homelessness sector of Toronto faced a public health threat from the H1N1 pandemic. This report shares the findings of research undertaken in 2010 and 2011, assessing the pandemic preparedness of the homelessness sector before, during, and after the outbreak. Interviews were conducted with 149 homeless individuals, fifteen social service providers, and five key stakeholders involved in the H1N1 response.
This report is divided into five key sections, and uses a question and answer approach to examine the core issues:
- “Homelessness, Health and Infrastructure in Toronto” examines how the homelessness sector is organized, how well homeless individuals are faring mentally and physically within the city, and how the sector organizes health care services for its clients.
- “Preparing the Homelessness Sector for H1N1” explores the work that was done prior to the outbreak and the challenges that arose.
- “H1N1 and the Homelessness Sector Response” examines how the sector performed during the outbreak phase. Included in this section are discussions of operational changes, communication strategies, supplies, vaccination efforts, and infection control measures.
- “Learning from H1N1” offers a reflection on how prepared the sector is for another outbreak and what challenges would need to be overcome in the event of a more severe pandemic. This report ends with a “Conclusion and Recommendations” section that pulls the key findings together and offers recommendations for creating a more integrated and interconnected sector.