In quiet neighbourhoods all over Canada, families are sheltering at home alone, refusing to give the Coronavirus a chance to spread. But tens of thousands don’t have that option.

“I’m in Calgary,” Tim Richter said the other day over the phone. “Calgary has the largest emergency centre in North America. That’s the Calgary Drop-in Centre. They had 850 people there for dinner the other day. And in Alberta they’ve banned gatherings of more than 15 people.”

To Richter, the founder and CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, the vulnerability of Canadians experiencing homelessness is a familiar story. To governments, which have begun to realize the potential for a COVID-19 flareup in vulnerable populations, these people are a key part of a massive crisis.