Homeless people often don’t have places to wash their hands, struggle with health problems and crowd together in camps.

Experts say the homeless are more vulnerable because many have underlying health conditions.

A county near Seattle, Washington is bringing in module units where infected homeless people can be isolated and treated.

Ezra holds his little dog Muppet to his chest against the blowing cold.

It’s -20 C in Edmonton on the day he’s decided to visit the abandoned shack where he spent last winter huddled against the elements. Ezra, 42, had been homeless off and on since the late ’90s and struggling with addiction when he stumbled on the tiny building and found it unlocked.

“This was top of the top for a homeless person to have this,” he says. “I had everything. I was out of the elements. I had a thermostat, a plug, some cardboard.”

The federal government is touting recent statistics that indicate that the poverty rate in Canada is on a downward spiral, but social justice and anti-poverty groups say the statistics don’t tell the whole story and there is still a lot of work to be done if Canada is going to reduce poverty levels for Indigenous Canadians and those who live in remote areas of the country.

According to Statistics Canada, Canada’s poverty rate has dropped dramatically in recent years, but there are still more than 566,000 children who live below the poverty line in Canada, although that is down from about one million children from five years ago.

According to statistics released on Feb. 24, the overall national poverty rate dropped to 8.7 per cent in 2018 compared to 9.5 per cent in 2017. The number of those living below the poverty line is about 3.2 million

The baloney reading

Listing the tax cut among other measures that contributed directly to reducing poverty doesn’t mean the tax cut reduced poverty. The experts say poverty is down markedly and Liberal policies have been a significant factor, but a tax cut for people making more than $45,000 a year doesn’t deserve the credit.

For these reasons, Justin Trudeau’s statement earns a rating of “a lot of baloney.”

A CBC News analysis reveals that in November 2019, an average of 620 women and children a day were turned away from domestic violence shelters across Canada. That’s nearly 19,000 times a month, if November was typical.

The true number is likely much higher. Shelter workers in several locations told CBC that in fact numbers are lower in November, because women are reluctant to leave their families as the holiday season nears.

CBC’s data is also incomplete. CBC reporters heard back from just over half the 527 shelters we identified, meaning this figure does not include the people turned away from about 220 shelters.

In more than 80 per cent of cases, people were turned away because the shelter was full.

Cutting essential services harms those who need them most

Premier Jason Kenney talks an awful lot about how Alberta is struggling, but rarely do we hear him or his ministers talk about the individual Albertans who are struggling and, even if we did, we’d have to take the concern with a grain of salt considering they are implementing austerity policies that are going to make things a whole lot worse for a whole lot of people.

Austerity is when governments attempt to reduce their budget deficits by reducing spending on public services. The problem with austerity is that it has never worked to jumpstart any economy and, in fact, has proven repeatedly to have the opposite effect. Worse, imposing austerity at the wrong time can increase unemployment and trigger a recession.