Natural and human-induced disasters have become increasingly common in modern society. “Factors such as increased urbanization, critical infrastructure dependencies and interdependencies, terrorism, climate change, environmental change, animal and human diseases and the heightened movement of people and goods around the world have increased the potential for various types of catastrophes” (Public Safety Canada, 2011, p. 3). While some emergencies are relatively localized events, others spread rapidly. Within the past two decades alone, viruses such as SARS and H1N1 have threatened the health and security of people around the world, largely due to technological advances that facilitate travel between global cities (Ali & Keil, 2008). The result is not only an increase in the number of disasters, but also in the potential for damage and loss of life. Large-scale emergencies, such as global pandemics, have become a reality of daily life, but while everyone is affected, not everyone is affected equally (Blickstead & Shapcott, 2009). Vulnerability is increased with inadequate structural and systemic protections, and is also grounded in the greater human, social, economic, physical and environmental capital accorded to some people over others (Canadian Red Cross, 2007). This book brings together findings from a multi-year, multi-site study that examined homelessness as a particular socio-structural vulnerability posing unique challenges to pandemic planning, preparedness and response across Canada.

Kristy Buccieri
Rebecca Schiff
Canadian Observatory On Homelessness
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