Winnipeg’s homeless lack continuous health care, clothing during cold weather

Courtesy: Global News
‘There’s a saying the rich stay healthy and sick stay poor’
Winnipeg’s homeless, suffering through the extreme cold, are facing a dire situation as their health issues are being compounded by the frigid weather. Dr. Neil Craton, who has volunteered at the Siloam Mission’s health centre for the past 10 years, said the lack of regular health care is a major issue for the city’s most vulnerable”. I think continuity of health care is a very important tenet in good health care, and at the mission you only provide episodic care. We’re kind of a Band-Aid,” said Craton. “Most of these people are transient, they’re just blowing through, so they don’t have access to good ongoing health care. “The problem is compounded by what people are wearing on the streets, he said.
“The clothes required to sustain yourself outside in these temperatures is difficult [even] for the affluent, so if you’re a person in poverty it’s often very, very hard to afford appropriate clothing,” he said. While a regular person can escape daily activities and often quarantine themselves, that isn’t an option that is readily available to those relying on shelters, Craton added. Frigid temperatures push Winnipeg homeless shelter’s capacity. The downtown-based homeless shelter says more people are coming through their doors dealing with a variety of health issues. “Right now we’re seeing a really big increase in prolonged headaches and body aches. We’re seeing a lot of cold and flu symptoms,” said Sierra Noble, communications officer at Siloam Mission.
For Siloam and other shelters, they’re trying to help keep people layered up when out in the cold as well as educate them on the dangers. “We provide a lot of education to our community in our health ​centre: how to prevent frostbite, how to keep your skin protected from developing frostbite,” Noble said. The mission is looking for donations of any warm clothing, mainly jackets, gloves, tuques and socks to help keep people warm for the remainder of the winter. Anyone who encounters someone struggling in the cold is encouraged to call non-emergency services at 204-986-6222.

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