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Local expert says we can end homelessness with lessons learned from pandemic

A WLU professor says quick action taken during the COVID-19 pandemic is proof we can end homelessness once and for all
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The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on some of the most vulnerable members of our community, with governments and local organizations moving quickly to find a safe place for those living on our streets to wash their hands and physical distance.

One of those solutions saw tiny homes placed on Lot 42, at 41 Ardelt Place in Kitchener. 

Geoffrey Nelson, Professor Emeritus in Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University, tells The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS, this community action proves that homelessness can be solved in Canada.

"The community mobilized so well, government was on side with this, and we were able to make a difference to really keep people healthy. If that is possible, to make quick responses like that, then I think it's possible to make long-term solutions to homelessness in Canada."

He says the Housing First program is one area where we can encourage governments to invest more cash into.

"If we really make a solid investment in this, I think we can move forward. Hopefully with the pandemic that will encourage us to be more decisive and affirmative in getting money into the homeless and housing sector."

The Housing First program, which sees individuals receive rent support in homes they want, along with intensive support services, has had a lot of success helping members of the homeless community from coast to coast. 

Nelson adds putting more support into ideas such as tiny homes, may not be a permanent answer to solving homelessness since there isn't very much research into how effective those homes are. 

"We don't know what the long-term effectiveness of tiny homes would be in ending homelessness and we also don't know if people want to live in these tiny homes."

At the end of the day, Nelson says it's up to us to put pressure on governments of all levels, to show this is a problem we want to solve. 




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Christine Clark

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