Many questions about COVID-19 — commonly referred to simply as Coronavirus — remain unanswered, and among them is the question of what is being done regarding one of our most vulnerable populations — our unhoused neighbors.
For the past few weeks, LAHSA has been carefully monitoring the developments related to Coronavirus and taking appropriate measures to prepare for a possible outbreak among people experiencing homelessness. We are actively working with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“We’re taking COVID-19 very seriously,” LAHSA Interim Executive Director Heidi Marston said. “We’re working with the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, and federal partners to promote effective hygiene and prevent potential Coronavirus infections among those experiencing homelessness.
“In addition, we are training our outreach teams and our provider network on best practices for working with people who may have contracted Coronavirus and equipping them with additional sanitation equipment to keep themselves and people experiencing homelessness safe.”
Here’s what we’re doing in response:
- We are assisting the LA Mayor’s Office, County Board of Supervisors, and City Councilmembers by advising on hygiene station placement and identifying spaces as potential isolation sites for people with coronavirus should they be needed.
- LAHSA is working in close coordination with the County Emergency Operation Center to ensure homelessness expertise is informing our system’s response
- We are also co-located and working hand-in-hand with the Unified Homeless Response Center within the City of Los Angeles
- Our outreach teams have received comprehensive training on best practices to keep themselves safe and to ensure that people they encounter with flu-like symptoms get the right medical care. This training is posted online and has been utilized by shelter providers and the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department
- We’re procuring additional sanitation equipment for our outreach teams including masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer
- We’ve notified our staff, partners, and providers about best practices to prevent and prepare for a coronavirus outbreak
- We’ve worked with our partners at the Department of Health Services to develop and administer training specifically for outreach and shelter providers
- Working with service providers to identify needs to additional hygiene/janitorial services at shelters
We will continue to update resources and information on our website as the situation continues to unfold.