Homelessness and Hygiene
In the months since the Covid-19 related economic shutdown, the homeless population of Toronto has more than doubled. People are reluctant to enter shelters because it is difficult to maintain six feet of physical distance from others, and they are concerned about the probability of contracting Covid-19 in such close quarters. This has led to an increase in the number of homeless encampments across the city, encampments that do not have access to washroom facilities, laundry, or clean water. Concurrently, the measures put in place to combat the pandemic shut down most of the public spaces that people experiencing homelessness count on to access these facilities including libraries, cafes, and community centres. The City of Toronto has identified a need to provide these citizens with the hygiene facilities required to remain clean and healthy.
We are looking to build a socially responsible, community based solution to the issue of hygiene in homeless encampments.
The City of Toronto and CSI are working together to facilitate a set of meetings between homelessness experts and social entrepreneurs. These meetings will outline the challenges associated with hygiene in homeless encampments, the intersecting issues that may arise from proposed solutions, and will allow entrepreneurs to work together to develop prototype solutions that can then be implemented and tested in the community. We anticipate three lab meetings scheduled in September and early October, with prototypes ready to be presented by the end of October 2020.