Barricades have gone up at CRAB Park, a wall of pallets separating a tent city of the homeless from the road and whatever comes down it.

“The people who have left have moved back to the streets,” Fiona York, an advocate for homeless people, said. “The people here are maintaining a presence. Part of the reason the barricades are here is to provide a place for everyone here. We’re asking for housing for everyone, but also the people are here in recognition that this land is unceded territory.

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The Canada Emergency Response Benefit has helped people with low incomes live better during the COVID-19 pandemic and showed that a guaranteed basic income is achievable, says the manager of the Nourish Project in Peterborough.

The federal government announced Tuesday it will provide eight extra weeks of benefits for people whose jobs or earnings have vanished because of the pandemic, but only if they look for work and take jobs when it’s reasonable to do so.

“It was amazing how the government could react so quickly and really stipulated that you need a minimum of $2,000 a month to be able to meet your basic needs,” said Joelle Favreau, manager of the Nourish Project which aims to help people in need eat more healthy food through local eating, cooking and growing programs.

As Canada starts to slowly recover from the COVID pandemic, housing and poverty experts are worried many cities will see a jump in homelessness.

A recent study conducted by a Columbia University professor estimates that homelessness could grow by as much as 45 per cent in the United States due to a COVID-induced economic downturn. Experts in Canada say there is no guarantee the homeless population will grow as quickly here as it does in the U.S., but they have no doubt it’s going to happen.

The province, the municipality and the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia (AHANS) together opened three temporary shelters at the end of March as existing shelters reduced their capacity in order to follow physical distancing guidelines.

The temporary shelters had capacity for a total of 100 people.

Residents at two of the pop-up shelters moved into hotels in April and the sites were closed. The lone remaining pop-up, in the gymnasium of Citadel High School, is now housing 25 men — but not for much longer.

Jim Graham is the director of AHANS, which has been operating the pop-ups. He said the looming deadline for finding another way to house the residents of the pop-up shelter is creating a sense of “panic.”

The province of B.C. has bought the 75-room Paul’s Motor Inn on Douglas Street for about $15 million to add to its stock of temporary supportive housing for people without homes in Victoria.

It’s the second Victoria hotel B.C. has purchased this year to provide housing. Last month, it announced it had spent $18.5 million to buy the Comfort Inn and Suites at 3020 Blanshard St., which houses 93 people.

According to a 2018 Toronto Street Needs Assessment, there were 533 “rough sleepers” in Toronto — that is to say, those homeless Torontonians who would rather sleep outdoors than stay in the overcrowded shelter system. However, well known street nurse, activist, and author Cathy Crowe estimates there could currently be between 1,000 to 1,500 individuals sleeping either on the streets or in homeless encampments.

If Crowe is right, what explains the nearly threefold increase?