According to the CDC, homeless people have a double risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
Even though fears are putting everyone on edge, the community of homeless is particularly at risk. Homeless people from coast to coast have a higher risk of getting the infection.
In the US, according to data by the National Homeless Coalition, around 200,000 people are homeless.
In the Pikes Peak Region, there are around 1,500 people who’re homeless. And, when there’s an outbreak of an illness, they’re highly susceptible to it.
One of the major reasons why they could be at a higher risk of COVID-19 is the inability to wash their hands regularly and the struggle for medical attention due to not having a roof over their heads.
Homeless Shelters in the US Are Trying to Improve the Situation for the Homeless
Homeless shelters are taking the needed precautions- in the Colorado Springs shelter, Springs Rescue Mission, has set up stations for washing, they’re handing out hand sanitizers for free, and ensuring these people are washing their hands.
According to Cindy Johnson, the development director of the Springs Rescue Mission, they’re cleaning every two hours and ensuring the knobs or doors are clean and that there are hand sanitizers on every exit.
In the Pueblo Rescue Mission, there are various signs instructing people to wash their hands and clean their surroundings on a regular basis.
They’ve stopped taking in people who’re outside of the Pueblo area to be safe.
Kathy Cline, executive director of the shelter claims that they provide sleeping bags and blankets for people out of town and state; however, they can’t take them in and it’s sad.
Denver city is also taking measures to protect the homeless- even though there are no reported cases in homeless, in the past; these people were hit the hardest when diseases were spreading.
Homeless People Who Live on Streets Are a Risk Group
According to experts, it’s common for homeless people to have health problems like heart illness, diabetes, and Hepatitis C and the same is seen in patients who died from the virus.
For homeless people, proper hand-washing and isolation is impossible as they don’t have places to shower, wash their hands, and have proper toilets. A lot of homeless people eat, sleep, and sit close to each other.
The ones not staying in shelters also tend to sleep near train and bus stations and ride the buses and subways or go in waiting rooms of ERs in the evenings.
These places and touching the objects there can easily spread the infection further.