Housing Harm Reduction: Community Solidarity & Resources


Photo by Jeff Bierk

Housing is a human right, however…

“It’s estimated that 1500 people sleep outside in Toronto as the result of a housing crisis that saw 102,049 households waitlisted for social housing in 2019 and over 9000 people homeless” – Encampment Support Network (E.S.N.) Toronto

Housing instability and the lack of shelter resources continue to be a violent factor to marginalized folks living in the city. From locally to globally, harm reduction values and practices are both necessary and essential while reaching towards safer and stable housing for all. Not to mention the restrictions or stigmatizations against substance use often turn people who use drugs away from community housing and shelters altogether. Especially, according to E.S.N. Toronto, “as of June 5 there were 14 current COVID-19 outbreaks and 528 confirmed cases in shelters. 4 People have died. In the encampments that have been tested for COVID-19, there were zero cases.” Housing is a human right, and it should not be at the compromise of any person’s dignity, autonomy, or survival. This pandemic should be a reminder of how much care we all deserve and not an opportunity for anyone to be left behind.

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Self-Care During Covid

Have the days gotten longer, but time for yourself seems shorter?

When it comes to our mind, body and soul, we have to take the time to nurture ourselves. During the times of COVID-19, a lot is surpassing us within our day-to-day life, and it is now more than ever that we have to dive deep in taking care of ourselves.

With self-care, it should be known that there is a lot more than picking one specific day.

You are a beautiful temple who deserves nourishment all day every day and using that ‘self-care Sunday’ may feel good in the moment, but it is not enough. You are more than one day a week kind of deal. Being stuck at home and watching Netflix is quite cozy, why not throw in a face mask or cucumber water to keep hydrated and remember to keep the body moving!

What is Self-Care?

The WHO 1998 definition:

‘Self-Care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc.), environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) socio-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication.’

Self-Care Tips:  

During a pandemic our bodies may go into deep shock. Life is becoming more stressful as good news is hard to find these days. Being able to take that time for relaxation or just managing your own personal stress can help with maintaining your wellness.

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