Healthcare Providers Against Poverty is a group of healthcare workers who strive to make healthcare provision equitable for all. Since the COVID19 pandemic started, our members have noticed a worrying but predictable trend: those without phones are struggling to get healthcare.
Think about it. Clinics that were once walk-in for care now require pre-booking, even vital harm reduction services like safe-injection sites. Most outpatient healthcare appointments are entirely conducted via phone or Zoom. Almost all mental health services have moved to a virtual or phone based appointment, making the very limited free resources available now entirely dependent on a person’s possession of a charged and functional phone. Lastly, and most devastatingly, those without a phone are unable to call 911 in life threatening emergencies. In a time where over 2000 people are estimated to die from a poisoned opioid supply, and many chronic health issues are worsening due to pandemic-related treatment delays, having an operational phone can be the difference between life and death.
At the same time, the combined forces of lost income and unsustainable rental markets in this pandemic have forced more people out of their homes than ever before. Many people are experiencing homelessness for the first time and we are seeing a substantial increase in the number of people living in encampments. Our neighbours in encampments already face innumerable barriers to healthcare, and the lifelong systemic oppression that forces someone to live in an encampment also puts them at a higher risk for many chronic and complex physical and mental health conditions. Combine all these factors with winter weather conditions, and we are gravely concerned for the health and safety of our neighbors, friends, and patients living outside.
At the very least, we need to be able to contact them.
So, HPAP is proud to share our first ever fundraiser, Connections for Encampments. The goal of this fundraiser is simple: provide telecommunication technology to people living in encampments so they can access healthcare. We were lucky to work with the incredible community advocates at the Encampment Support Network (ESN) to get an understanding of what supplies are needed and access a channel for distribution of supplies.
Our goal with this fundraiser is to raise a minimum of $4000 to provide rechargeable batteries, charging cables, and phone cards to people living in encampments. We are simultaneously contacting phone companies for donations of unlocked phones for those who are in need, but we need your help keeping those phones charged.
Any amount helps. Thanks for giving xo-Healthcare Providers Against Poverty