About This Series
This series focuses on the challenges of addressing the health and health care needs, both related and unrelated to the pandemic, of people who are homeless, and spotlights emerging care innovations, partnerships, and practices across the state. See the full Homelessness and COVID-19 series.
Since March 2020, states across the country have required residents to shelter in place to stem the community spread of COVID-19. For people experiencing homelessness, public health procedures designed to contain COVID-19 — self-isolation, social distancing, and handwashing — are nearly impossible. As a result, people experiencing homelessness are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
Rates of chronic conditions like diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and substance use disorders, as well as disabilities, are significantly higher among people experiencing homelessness than in the general population, placing them at increased risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus. A recent study (PDF) found that people experiencing homelessness who are infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are potentially two to four times as likely to require critical care and two to three times as likely to die compared to the general population.