Despite adversity in the face of a global pandemic, the CAEH is proud to have driven progress towards ending homelessness throughout 2020. Today we release our CAEH 2020-2021 Annual Report, highlighting our priorities, achievements, and financials for the year. Check it out!
COVID-19 took a lot away from us. For some, it took family and friends, for others it took away opportunities or a stable income, and for many it threatened or outright took away their place to call home, or perhaps their chance to access housing. In March 2020, the world came to a shocking standstill, and folks already marginalized by society and the systems in place felt the brunt of the fallout. There were moments, for all of us, where fear of the unknown became potent and even paralyzing.
Despite facing the unknown, we wasted no time. Frontline staff and organizations made incredible strides and sacrifices as the pandemic began, moving quickly to address the weaknesses in homeless serving systems that would be exploited by an immensely contagious virus like COVID-19. Together with partners and allies in the sector, we worked to help mobilize efforts and emergency plans so that people with no home had somewhere to isolate, knowing that we only had each other to rely on in these unprecedented times. Like no other time in history, people realized that our health is interconnected.
A few months into our pandemic response, we collectively identified that the pandemic could be an opportunity for systemic change and collective action if we paid close enough attention. The pandemic shone a light on the need for us to more effectively manage and prevent homelessness as a society. A return to normal was not an option—and neither was inaction.
Communities shared strategies and information, reduced homelessness, and even ended homelessness for certain unique populations. Then we launched Recovery for All, a bold and ambitious campaign that helped secure a federal commitment to end chronic homelessness and billions in new housing investments.
Looking back over the course of the pandemic, we are reminded of the countless feats achieved and opportunities taken, alongside the heightened empathy and understanding driving these moments of progress and success. And it gives us hope for what we will be capable of achieving when a global health crisis is no longer standing in our way. We are truly capable of ending homelessness—it’s within reach. Thank you for your support.
Some highlights from the year:
- London achieved functional zero and ended veteran homelessness
- Fort McMurray reduced chronic homelessness despite a one-in-100 year natural disaster and a global pandemic
- Edmonton quickly moved to use its Expo Centre as a designated overflow location for homeless shelters
- Kelowna centred and built lived experience into its homelessness strategy, which is critical to person-centred systems
- Medicine Hat became the first community in Canada to functionally end chronic homelessness
- Region of Peel housed over 287 individuals during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic
- The City of Toronto released shelter system data to publicly inform solutions to homelessness, and housed 1,300 people through its COVID-19 response
- Chatham-Kent adapted to COVID-19 with an isolation shelter and new prioritization measures to move people quickly into housing
- 25 Built for Zero Canada (BFZ-C) communities achieved a Chronic Quality By-Name List