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How COVID-19 has affected the homelessness crisis in London

The city of London already faced high rates of unemployment and homelessness prior to the pandemic. Now bringing more obstacles for the marginalized community, Covid-19 has caused higher rates of job unemployment and decreased capacities for community shelters and programs.

The unemployment rate in London sat around 5 per cent before the pandemic. However, it rose to 8.9 per cent when quarantine began and hit its peak in June with a shocking rate of 12.6 per cent.

Although the recent economic boom from the eased restrictions and lifted lockdowns this fall have aided the unemployment issue, London still sits at percentages above its previous average of 5 per cent. This is a prominent issue as job unemployment is one of the main driving factors towards homelessness.

In addition to this obstacle, Covid-19 has also forced decreased capacity in shelters, while service programs have either been halted or lessened its participants. Physical distancing, unavailability of resources, and sanitary precautions have caused these changes.

On top of causing higher rates of homelessness, the pandemic also adds additional safety risks to the homeless population. They’re more at risk to Covid-19 due to forced exposure, higher health risks during winter, and less capacity for proper safety measures which includes having the proper PPE.

This pandemic has illustrated the significance of the homelessness issue in London and has posed great risks to the disadvantaged population— however, it has also given people the opportunity to familiarize themselves with this issue, and step up to commit to more actions towards alleviation and support of marginalized communities.

The need for more community programs, shelters, and employment assistance is both demonstrated and necessitated by the current tumultuous circumstances that the pandemic has brought upon the community of London, and this time of crisis must be capitalized in order to both increase and form more robust aid for the marginalized population that can remain moving forward.

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