Today, our Executive Director, Liam Brennan discusses the importance of keeping people housed in order to keep them healthy. As we all commit to flattening the curve by staying home, the reality of one’s social determinants of health dictate how sufficiently they can practice these vital public health precautions.
Homeless individuals have double vulnerability to coronavirus. In addition to housing instability, many homeless individuals are older with more chronic conditions, making homeless individuals one of the most at-risk populations for COVID-19.
Homeless veterans are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. Veterans make up 7% of the general population, but 12% of homeless Americans are veterans. Most homeless veterans are older and studies show that many of them possess multiple chronic illnesses. Addressing housing insecurity is vital to combating the spread of the virus.
“Social determinants of health are cyclical problems – loss of income leads to loss of housing, loss of housing leads to homelessness, homelessness leads to restricted access to bathing facilities and limited ability to prevent the spread of the virus. Flattening the curve requires breaking these cycles. By addressing the social risks that can lead to greater infections, we can help combat COVID-19. Keeping people housed is key to keeping them healthy. Nothing could be more important right now.”
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