B. PROMOTING HEALTH
- People experiencing homelessness in Canada face both the highest morbidity rates and the lowest age of mortality of all Canadians. A Toronto study found that the average age of death of a homeless person is 42-47 years of age. Therefore, we offer the following recommendations:
- Identification is one of the primary barriers to accessing healthcare for a person experiencing homelessness. Those in this situation should have access to one free issuing of the new Ontario Photo Card. Additionally, walk-in clinics should provide the same scope of services without a Health Card as are available in emergency rooms.
- The majority of people experiencing homelessness have a lifetime diagnosis of mental illness. Tier 3 of mental health integration in the Southwest LHIN needs to include mental health care provided where people in poverty live, eat, and find shelter. ACT teams have been insufficient to prevent those receiving community based care from ending up homeless.
- Community Health Centres and Family Health Teams have improved access for a large number of people experiencing homelessness in our community. However, those who face the most barriers to care are not served by static agencies. We need provincially supported, locally delivered programs that provide street-level, outreach services for healthcare.
- Addictions are a large part of the picture of chronic homelessness. London needs to greatly increase the number of addiction supportive housing beds, to institute a wet shelter, and to have our own residential treatment facility of sufficient size for our population.