Homeless Helping Hands Progam
People experiencing unsheltered homelessness (those sleeping outside or in places not meant for human habitation) may be at risk for infection when there is community spread of COVID-19.
In the context of COVID-19 spread and transmission, the risks associated with sleeping outdoors or in an encampment setting are different than from staying indoors in a congregate setting such as an emergency shelter or other congregate living facility.
However, sleeping outdoors often does not provide protection from the environment, adequate access to hygiene and sanitation facilities, or connection to services and healthcare. The balance of risks should be considered for each individual experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
Hopeful Inc recognizes that people with lived experiences of homelessness can help with planning and response. These individuals can serve as peer navigators to strengthen outreach and engagement efforts. We want to develop an advisory board with representation from people with current or former experiences of homelessness to ensure our HELPING HANDS plan is effective.
Continuing homeless services during community spread of COVID-19 is critical. Making plans to maintain services for all people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. Furthermore, the homeless population who are positive for COVID-19 need to have access to services and a safe place to stay, separated from others who are not infected.
The reality is that infected homeless persons are still interspersed among the unifected which increases the possibility more infections in the community.