New resource highlights local programs critical to reducing feelings of isolation for homeless

People experiencing homelessness are even more vulnerable during the pandemic due to a variety of factors, including fears of shelter outbreaks.

A new resource put together by researchers in London, Ont. can help other communities and organizations combat feelings of isolation and loneliness within homeless individuals.

“The pandemic has highlighted the issues of isolation and homelessness, and we know there is a connection between mental health and poverty. Unfortunately, right now, many people don’t see solutions in sight,” explains Dr. Cheryl Forchuk with Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson).

The book includes input from more than 35 community partners and people with lived experience of homelessness.

Forchuk says the book, also edited by Dr. Rick Csiernik, goes a step further to give examples of community programs that provide solutions for these feelings of loneliness.

“I reflect back on the past 15 months of the pandemic and know how isolated I have felt at times. Imagine the feelings of isolation or being forgotten that would come with experiencing homelessness? And for some, it’s been most of their adult lives,” shares Dr. Csiernik, Professor at King’s University College at Western University.

The book brings together research, real stories and information about programs from the London and area community that are working to address these issues.

Some of the community partners include Connect for Mental Health, Impact Junk Solutions from CMHA Elgin-Middlesex, and Goodwill Industries.