COVID-19 AND THE HOMELESS
What we are doing
Eaton Canyon Foundation, in alignment with our mission, has initiated a COVID-19 Community Crisis Mitigation Program. We have expanded our Mobile Homeless Outreach program to include providing COVID-19 screening and testing, sanitizer, masks, gloves, wipes, toiletries, and other supplies to help quell the spread of this deadly virus, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) for our volunteers and staff. We conduct temperature scans of all individuals we service. Those who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 such as a fever and continuous coughing, are tested using a COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Device, which provides results in 10-15 minutes. If an individual tests positive for coronavirus, our team immediately reaches out to collaborating agencies such as the Pasadena Police Department and Union Station Foundation to transport sick individuals to the appropriate facilities to quarantine and receive necessary treatment.
The Effects of COVID-19 on the Homeless
LA County’s study that showed the nearly 10% rise in homelessness year-over-year was actually conducted at the beginning of 2020: pre-pandemic. Post COVID-19 homeless figures have yet to be determined, but what is expected are devastating figures due to unprecedented unemployment for extended periods with no end in sight; many businesses having to close doors permanently. But the growing economic instability and its effects on food and housing insecurity are only a part of the problem.
While COVID-19 has disrupted our lives greatly – changed our routines, heightened our awareness of hygiene and forced us to stay indoors at home – imagine the effect on the homeless. These individuals are at a high risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19. While most of the country is wearing masks, washing hands frequently and isolating in their homes, homeless individuals do not have adequate access to facilities for proper hygiene and no option for “sheltering in place.”
What it Means to You
Serving this vulnerable population through this crisis is of utmost importance. Given what is known about the spread of the Coronavirus, the homeless can be ‘Super Spreaders’ as they interact and move about – even at a distance – among the greater community. Grocery stores, gas stations, places we all frequent are hotspots.