FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2020
Vice President of Communications and Public Policy
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
Statewide Network of Homeless Service Providers Sends Letter to Governor Polis to Provide Urgent Response to Homelessness During COVID-19 Crisis
In a letter on Monday, April 20, 57 homeless service providers across Colorado urged Governor Jared Polis to take immediate action to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis.
We know that in Denver alone, there are over 80 positive cases of COVID-19 in our unhoused community. The state reports that at least 28 other positive cases across the state. Many more are expected to contract the virus due to the complex nature of living without housing, a lack of access to handwashing and sanitation, and congregate living situations which can cause the virus to spread even more rapidly.
A recent report finds people experiencing homelessness who are infected with Coronavirus are twice as likely to be hospitalized up to four times as likely to require critical care, and at least two times as likely to die from the illness as the general population.
Given feedback from homeless service providers across the state, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless compiled the letter to the governor requesting immediate support and resources to support people experiencing homelessness and the providers that serve them. Following are six actions the providers request to reduce the impact a virus outbreak among people experiencing homelessness could have on the hospital systems and the potential for loss of life:
- Create a strategy to acquire more motel/hotel rooms for isolation and quarantine, especially in rural communities with no shelter options;
- Deploy national guard personnel to assist with de-densification of current shelters and to staff acquired motels/hotels;
- Provide more testing resources and prioritize shelter populations;
- Allow homelessness services providers to access state distributed personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Immediately deploy federal resources and funding as they become available across all areas of the state; and
- Identify and provide state resources and funding to assist providers.
As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the homeless population, their lives and the lives of all Coloradans are at risk. Providers across the state urge the Governor to take immediate action for our most vulnerable community members.
About the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
The mission of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is to work collaboratively toward the prevention of homelessness and the creation of lasting solutions for people experiencing and at-risk of homelessness homeless throughout Colorado. The Coalition advocates for and provides a continuum of housing and a variety of services to improve the health, well-being and stability of those it serves. Since its founding more than 30 years ago, the organization has earned state and national recognition for its integrated healthcare, housing, and service programs. The Coalition’s comprehensive approach addresses the causes of homelessness, as well as the consequences, offering critical assistance to over 20,000 individuals and families each year. Learn more at www.coloradocoalition.org.