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COVID-19 Guidance for Homeless Service Providers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed interim guidance to support COVID-19 response planning by homeless service providers, including overnight emergency shelters, day shelters, and meal service providers.

CDC recommends shelters plan for higher usage during the outbreak and consult with community leaders, local public health departments, and faith-based organizations about places to refer clients if a shelter space is full.

Homeless service providers also should identify and address potential language, cultural, and disability barriers associated with communicating COVID-19 information to staff, volunteers, and populations accessing services.

During a COVID-19 outbreak in the community, CDC recommends:

  • minimizing the number of staff members who have face-to-face interactions with clients with respiratory symptoms;
  • ensuring that beds/mats are at least three feet apart in general sleeping areas (for those who are not experiencing respiratory symptoms);
  • limiting visitors to the facility;
  • monitoring clients who could be at high risk for complications; and
  • isolating clients with mild respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the outbreak.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Maryellen Guinan is a principal policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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