A toddler sits on a swing at a playground earlier this month. The federal government is increasing funding for children, seniors and homeless people to help them cope with COVID-19. (Daniel Reinhardt/Associated Press)

COVID-19: Federal help on the way to children, seniors and the homeless

Canada’s federal government has announced funding to help seniors, children and homeless people cope with the COVID-19 outbreak.

At his daily press briefing on Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa will contribute $9 million through United Way Canada to help the country’s seniors get groceries, medication and other critical items

The CBC’s Raisa Patel reports that the aid will also go toward assessing seniors’ individual needs and connecting them to the necessary community resources, Trudeau said.

As well, Trudeau said the federal government was  pledging $7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone to provide mental health support to children and youth impacted by school closures and reduced access to social support and community resources.

Also on Sunday, Families, Children and Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said that over the past few days, the government had  “rushed out” an additional $15 million — funds left over from last year’s federal budget — for local communities to distribute to shelters and centres under their jurisdiction. 

“The homeless population is already a community that faces significant health challenges,” Patel quotes Hussen saying during a news conference. “The COVID-19 crisis is threatening to exacerbate those challenges.”

Patel reports that Hussen said the funding would also help non-profit and charitable organizations facing a drop in revenue and dwindling numbers of available volunteers.

In addition, Hussen explained, “the aid could go toward preventing and managing potential outbreaks, buying personal protective equipment, purchasing barriers to better achieve physical distancing or securing extra rooms in motels and hotels if needed,” according to Patel.

The new relief measures are in addition to an already-announced commitment of $157.5 million to assist Canadians experiencing homelessness, as well as up to $50 million for women’s shelters, sexual assault centres and similar facilities in Indigenous communities.  

With files from CBC (Raisa Patel), Canadian Press

Categories: Economy, Health
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