Vaccinations Underway for Persons Experiencing Homelessness
Vaccinations begin today, Wednesday March 17th, 2021, at the Temporary Emergency Shelter at the Aquatic Centre (TESAC) for persons experiencing homelessness.
The Province of Ontario has recognized the challenges faced by this population and has prioritized persons experiencing homelessness for vaccinations. In addition to supporting two Isolation Centres and a Temporary Emergency Shelter – Aquatic Centre, City staff are assisting the Windsor Essex County Health Unit and Windsor Essex EMS with vaccinations starting today.
“It’s difficult to adhere to a ‘stay at home’ order, when you don’t have a home”, says Mayor Drew Dilkens, “we are grateful that our residents who face additional challenges from COVID-19 are able to access the vaccine. We would especially like to thank EMS, the Health Unit, and CRST Medical Teams for their help in vaccinating residents”.
Jelena Payne, Commissioner of Community Development and Health Services, agrees. “We are extremely grateful to Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare, Canadian Mental Health Association, and Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario for partnering with the City, Health Unit, EMS and CRST to support this population group throughout the crisis.”
Several non-profit agencies serving persons experiencing homelessness have stepped up to serve residents in need. The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families have continued to provide emergency shelter for women and families, in addition to leading operations at the City’s Isolation and Recovery Centre for the past year. The Salvation Army Centre of Hope has mobilized during the COVID outbreak amongst persons experiencing homelessness to add an additional 25 shelter beds to prevent people from sleeping rough. Family Services Windsor Essex has deployed their outreach workers to engage with residents at the Housing and Homelessness Help Hub (H4), and worked intensively with Housing Information Services to secure housing for residents, many of whom have been living in shelter for years.
While the availability of the vaccine provides for a sense of cautious optimism, the City appreciates the support of all the partners to address the needs of persons experiencing homelessness and mitigate the risk of COVID across the community as a whole.