COVID-19 and Homelessness - MDHA | MDHA


We are currently undergoing exceptional times due to the COVID-19 pandemic which will ultimately transform the ways in which many of us have been functioning. As a result, the ACB Network wants to ensure that our community is aware of the resources available during the unforeseen time. We have compiled some government and organizational resources that can be utilized by individuals and families.

Informative Websites

Economic Relief

Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit: The CERB supports Canadians by providing financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19.

It provides a payment of $2,000 for a 4-week period (the same as $500 a week) for up to 16 weeks.
After you apply, you should get your payment in 3 business days if you signed up for direct deposit. If you haven’t, you should get it in about 10 business days.

For a step by step tutorial on how to apply and eligibility requirements please click HERE.

Family Benefit for School and Daycare Closures: While schools and child care centres are closed, parents can apply for direct funding to offset the cost of buying materials to support their children’s learning, while they practice self-isolation and physical distancing.

Eligible parents can get a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for children or youth up to 21 with special needs, to help offset the costs of buying materials to support their children’s learning.

To learn more about the benefit and to apply click HERE

Canada Emergency Student Benefit: For post-secondary students and recent graduates who are ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or for Employment Insurance, but who are unable to find full-time employment or are unable to work due to COVID-19, the government proposes to introduce the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). The CESB would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students from May through August 2020, and $1,750 for students with dependents and those with permanent disabilities.

This new grant would provide income support to post-secondary students who will experience financial hardship over the Summer due to COVID-19. The CESB will be delivered by CRA and more details will be communicated.

OSAP Suspension: Ontario will temporarily suspend student loan payments for OSAP borrowers and initiate a six-month interest-free moratorium on OSAP loans. Both measures will automatically apply to current OSAP loans, providing immediate relief to OSAP borrowers during this difficult time. Anyone who wishes to continue to make payments to their loan can still make one-time payments through their online account or online banking.

Health Resources
ConnexOntarioAdults and frontline workers who are dealing with the realities of COVID-19 can call ConnexOntario at  1-866-531-2600 for mental health, addictions and problem gambling support.
BounceBack: A free, evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program that offers guided mental health self-help supports for adults and youth 15+ using workbooks, online videos and phone coaching. Call  1-866-345-0224.
Kids Help Phone: Children and youth 18 and younger who need to talk to someone about their mental health can call 1-800-668-6868, for 24/7 phone and text support.
Good2Talk: A phone and texting service that offers confidential support to post-secondary students. Call  1-866-925-5454.

Policing Assistance

With increased policing beginingn to occur, we reccomend those that come into contact with law enforcement to follow the reccomendations presented below as provided by the Black Legal Action Center in Toronto.

A more thorough resource outlining your rights can be accessed HERE.

What if an officer approaches me in a park or a public square for breaking an emergency rule?
You may ask the officer to verify the offence that you are being charged with. If the offence you are charged with is NOT related to the COVID-19 emergency rules, you don’t have to stop and answer the officer’s questions, unless they have arrested you or detained you. Even then, you have a right to remain silent, a right to be told what is happening, and a right to speak to a lawyer.

What if an officer asks me to identify myself? Are there any consequences for refusing to do so?
You should be cooperative. The emergency rules require any person charged with violating an emergency order to identify themselves (name, date of birth, address) to officers [6]. If the officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe you have committed an offence under the emergency rules (e.g. because you are playing in a park) and you refuse to identify yourself or lie, you may be fined $750.00 or $1,000.00 for obstruction of justice.

Can I be charged with more than one offence?
If you’re caught breaking the emergency rules, the police can charge you with one or more offences under the Provincial Offences Act. For example, you can be charged for not identifying yourself and for not following an emergency order.

Where do I challenge the fine/charge against me?
If you identify as Black or African-Canadian, please contact BLAC if you’ve received a fine/charge under the emergency order. Your provincial offence court hearing will take place at the Ontario Court of Justice after the state of emergency ends. If you’re found guilty, a Justice of the Peace will decide your sentence.

Does this offence show up on my criminal record?
Although provincial offences may not show up on your criminal record, the penalties could be substantial, including imprisonment.

Key things to remember during police encounters: 

  • If you are detained or arrested by the police, they must inform you that you can speak with a lawyer and must provide you with an opportunity to do so.
  • If you do not have a lawyer, the police are obligated to tell you that free legal advice is available through legal aid and must give you the phone number to reach a legal aid lawyer.
  • It may be a good idea to not answer questions from the police until you have spoken with a lawyer.
  • Anything you say to the police can be used as evidence in court.
  • In most cases, the police can only search you if you have been placed under arrest or if you have consented to the search. However, there are exceptions to this.
  • If you believe that you have been wrongly searched, tell the police that you object to the search, and speak to a lawyer afterwards about your concerns.