DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > IGH helps with global response to global pandemic
By Lydia Stazen /
March 31, 2020 /
Posted in: CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY /
"Home" has become the first line of defense against COVID-19. At DePaul's Institute of Global Homelessness, we are daily reflecting on what it means to "stay home" or "shelter in place" if you have no home or shelter. People experiencing homelessness already have high rates of respiratory illness, like asthma or pneumonia, and will be deeply vulnerable to severe COVID-19.
Like COVID-19, homelessness is a global issue, and IGH has heard from many of its international partners asking for advice in shaping their homeless sector's response to this new health threat. In particular, we have helped our Vanguard Cities of Greater Manchester, UK; Santiago, Chile; and Montevideo, Uruguay with a range of questions.
If people experiencing homelessness are to survive this pandemic, they need to be off the streets and regularly tended to by health and social service professionals. We are encouraging all our partners to get creative to expand shelters. Some communities have used hotel rooms, empty gyms and other buildings currently standing empty due to "shelter in place" directives. We also advise as much single-room occupancy as possible, as much COVID-19 testing as possible, and active requests to government agencies to ensure that any responses to COVID-19 explicitly include addressing homelessness.
Our hope is the increased urgency of getting people off the street will continue even beyond this time of pandemic, because at all times, homelessness is a crisis that can use the attention and creativity of us all.
For more information about IGH's efforts with the COVID-19 pandemic, visit IGH's website.