The Thunder Bay region has the highest COVID-19 rate per capita in Ontario. About half the current cases are amongst individuals experiencing homelessness and precarious housing in the city. This has overwhelmed the isolation shelter systems, where just over 100 people are being supported in two hotels for isolation.
In response to a request from the municipal government for assistance, Samaritan’s Purse has sent 15 emergency response staff to the city to help however they are needed.
“Thunder Bay is in a crisis situation as they struggle to serve the city’s vulnerable population,” said Brent Davis, Samaritan’s Purse’s Canadian Ministry Projects director. “We are honored to serve in whatever way they need to ensure there is adequate staffing and support for individuals experiencing homelessness and precarious housing who require isolation.”
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Samaritan’s Purse staffers are providing emergency stop-gap support, which could include cleaning rooms, transporting food, caring for the needs of residents, and more. It will not include healthcare delivery.
This is the second Samaritan’s Purse response in Thunder Bay. In 2012, the organization sent one of its specially equipped Disaster Relief Unit tractor-trailers to the city and mobilized local volunteers to clean up homes flooded by heavy rain and a breakdown in the city’s sewage pumping station.
In recent years, Samaritan’s Purse has assisted victims of a wide variety of Canadian and international disasters including flooding in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, plus tornadoes in Ontario, and forest fires in British Columbia and Alberta.
We thank God that we are able to meet urgent needs and have opportunities to talk about Jesus Christ. Please pray for our teams as they serve in Jesus’ Name.
Note: This article was originally published on Mar. 4 and updated on Mar. 9.
Help Samaritan's Purse respond quickly to victims of disasters within Canada, providing not only physical assistance as people clean up and rebuild after floods, fires, and other disasters, but also emotional and spiritual support in the aftermath of tragedy.