Dora Barilla, DrPH, group vice president of community health investment, and Rishi Manchanda, MD MPH, CEO of HealthBegins, are addressing homelessness in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. They are calling on hospital systems to join in on efforts to serve the poor and vulnerable populations.
“According to conservative estimates, more than 21,000 people experiencing homelessness could be hospitalized due to COVID-19. For those who recover, where will they go? Hundreds of thousands more could be infected — without homes, where will they stay? Without safe ways to care for people without homes, how will communities prevent the virus from spreading? What will happen to unsheltered people when the pandemic threat is diminished?”
They are calling on hospitals to:
- Provide emergency funds and long-term support for essential services
- Support public health response efforts
- Fast-track steps to house and care for people without homes
- Accelerate “Housing First” and other efforts to end homelessness
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