Homelessness and Health Care: Lessons and Policy Considerations from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Center for Health Care Strategies


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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.

The COVID-19 pandemic has strained communities and health care systems across the country. Among the many challenges to emerge is how to best meet the health care needs of people experiencing homelessness during the crisis. The Center for Health Care Strategies, with support from CHCF, has produced a series of resources highlighting success stories, opportunities, and obstacles to improving care for people experiencing homelessness that have emerged during the public health crisis.

This brief synthesizes innovative approaches and key lessons for supporting the health care needs of Californians experiencing homelessness during COVID-19. It presents the immediate public health challenges in responding to the pandemic and shares key programmatic efforts to support those experiencing homelessness. It also delves into considerations for California policymakers and stakeholders to leverage these lessons to prepare for the ongoing and continued impacts of the pandemic, and to inform future policy direction.

About the Authors

The Center for Health Care Strategies is a nonprofit policy center dedicated to improving the health of Americans with low incomes through partnerships that promote innovations in publicly financed health care, especially for individuals with complex, high-cost health care needs. Anna Spencer, MPH, is a senior program officer and Kathy Moses, MPH, is senior fellow at CHCS.