A baby girl, about two weeks old, clutches her mother’s finger. She, her mother and 13-year-old sister are crashing in a single room at a friend’s house, after the family left one of the city’s homeless shelters.

In a sterile hospital room, around 3 p.m. on Nov. 28, 2020, Toronto’s homeless population increased by one. A six-pound, 12-ounce infant with a shock of dark hair came into the world without a fixed address.

The baby was delivered by C-section after medication to induce labour dropped the infant’s heart rate. Though the medical system bore the weight of a pandemic, the infant’s mother said she felt safe in the hospital. Her partner was able to stay with her for a day, though no longer.

Born with a cleft lip and palate, the baby would have to stay in hospital for a few days, with surgeries to come in the months ahead. But there was no nursery sitting empty at home.