Loneliness During the Holidays

The holidays in Canada are a time for families to come together. However, not everyone celebrates Christmas or Hanukkah, the national holidays and the winter break for students, allows for many people of all backgrounds to spend time with family and friends. Sadly, there are still many people that do not have the same experience, namely the homeless population.

In 2018, the homeless population in Montreal was estimated to be 3149, a number that has since doubled during the pandemic, according to mayor Valerie Plante. This recent growth in the number of homeless people has directly resulted from the pandemic and lockdowns, which have caused many people to lose their jobs. In addition to the driving growth in the homeless population, the pandemic makes it especially difficult to find housing for them, especially in the winter months. As observed several times this year, several COVID-19 outbreaks started in homeless shelters, reducing access to shelter, food, water and hygiene for the homeless. All this has made life more difficult for an already growing homeless population.

Although access to shelter and food has become increasingly difficult, the untalked problem could also be the lack of social interactions and loneliness. Being homeless is already lonely, but due to the pandemic, people leave their homes less, and gatherings between the homeless population are also limited. The homeless in shelters are obliged to socially distance to avoid outbreaks within shelters, but this has not helped with the outcome as outbreaks within shelters have been a widespread occurrence in Montreal.

Due to these numerous outbreaks, numerous hotels have converted some of their space into homeless shelters, most notably Place Dupuis. Although countless new shelters have opened for the homeless, an alarming rate of the homeless population has gotten infected with COVID-19 and has caused the closure of many shelters. Therefore, making it even more challenging to be homeless.

But the loneliness associated with being a homeless person during the holidays is nothing new, only something that has escalated in various ways this year. During the holidays, it can be incredibly lonely for the homeless as most do not get to spend time with loved ones unless they are themselves living on the street. The cold is brutal, and unless they are in a shelter all day long, many homeless will suffer due to Canada’s extreme climate. On the street, most of the human contact the homeless population gets comes from their fellow homeless friends; otherwise, most people ignore them.

15 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All