On the Front Lines: Nonprofits in the Homeless-serving Sector During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:homeless-serving organizations, COVID-19 pandemic, Nova Scotia, disasters
This article examines the experiences of the nonprofit, homeless-serving sector during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualitative interviews were conducted with staff and volunteers from frontline organizations in the two largest communities in Nova Scotia, Canada. Participants reported much strain on their organizations' human resources, but also the ability to adjust service delivery mechanisms quickly in order to continue offering supports. Most reported greater in-kind contributions from businesses and community members as well as more funding from the federal government in particular, albeit with administrative burdens and defined timelines. Nonprofits played a leadership role in developing responses to serve the needs of those experiencing homelessness, including developing comfort centres, installing portable toilets in downtown locations, and moving those without housing into hotels. They also advocated to government for state-level responses to those without housing, including calls to invest in new units and enhance funding for frontline service providers. At the same time, nonprofits reported working across sectors, noting better communication and relationships with state actors as well as other nonprofit organizations as a result of their COVID-19 response.
Copyright (c) 2022 Catherine Leviten-Reid, Jeff Karabanow, Kaitrin Doll, Jean Hughes, Haorui Wu
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