In the early phases of the pandemic, many people feared that individuals experiencing homelessness would be among the highest of those impacted by the virus. However,
COVID-19 rates in the homeless population, both locally and nationally, are lower than the general population, according to a
from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH).
Much of that is attributed to the "fanatical" prevention efforts by homelessness providers on the front lines, said Robert Marbut, who oversees USICH. Back in March, the HSC and Campus partners started adhering to CDC recommendations to create physical distancing in both indoor and outdoor spaces, change food service to a "to-go" model, require staff (and in May requiring all clients) to wear masks, enhance deep cleaning in all services areas, provide portable showers, toilets, hand-washing stations and laundry facilities for clients, implement virus screening procedures and provide quarantine and isolation spaces for those exposed. Marbut emphasized that it is not yet time to celebrate and encouraged all providers to keep up all of their hard work for the foreseeable future.
“We are incredibly grateful at the HSC to have partners who are experts in their field, Circle the City, Community Bridges, CASS and many others for working in coordination to best serve our collective clients. While crisis management and iterative process improvements have their stressful moments, the work we all do has shifted and improved to be client-centric. Putting health first is our new motto,” said Amy Schwabenlender, HSC Executive Director.
The HSC and partner pandemic response is demonstrating the original purpose of the Campus, to collaborate to end homelessness. Each organization is focused on its strengths to create positive health and housing outcomes for our clients. One missing piece currently and pre-pandemic is sufficient shelter beds. Through these COVID times, we continue to pursue City approval to increase the capacity for sheltering people in buildings that we already have at CASS and Andre House. It would be a dream come true to receive approval and work on renovation to have more shelter on the other side of COVID-19. Please join us on our journey by advocating to the City of Phoenix through From Street to Home as listed below!