A pandemic that showed
the gaps in healthcare.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no coordinated and cohesive healthcare services for those experiencing homelessness. Many of our clinicians were providing care independently through agencies like churches, gurdwaras, and community services. Ad hoc programs existed through community agencies but lacked connection to the wider health system and the ability to provide nurses that specialized in homeless healthcare.
Homeless Health Peel was founded in 2020 in response to COVID-19 pandemic. The Region of Peel created an Isolation and Recovery Program to support its residents experiencing homelessness who were at highest risk. Nurses were needed to provide medical care to the individuals and families in isolation.
To meet the specialized need for the Peel Isolation and Recovery Program, Nurse Practitioner Clinton Baretto proposed the direct hire and training of nurses in the area of homeless health. Nurses were hired from a variety of backgrounds including palliative care, long term care, mental health, and community nursing to bring their unique experience and train intensively in the program to provide high quality, trauma informed, patient centred primary care to individuals experiencing homeless. These nurses now form the backbone of Homeless Health Peel and are the start of a new era of healthcare for the homeless in the Region of Peel.