Though Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration took important first steps last week to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness, additional steps are needed to protect the city’s large homeless population from contracting the virus. We believe at least 2,800 units of isolation housing dedicated for use by people experiencing homelessness are necessary to provide shelter for people living on the streets and those who are living in a shelter but remain particularly vulnerable.
To ensure the health and safety of the public, the U.S. Census Bureau is modifying some of its census operations in the wake of COVID-19. The deadline to respond to the census has been extended from July 31 to Friday, August 14. But households are still strongly encouraged to respond early to minimize the need for follow up visits from a census official. Counting people at service-based locations (shelters, soup kitchens) has been delayed one month to take place between Wednesday, April 29 and Friday, May 1. The count at non-sheltered outdoor locations, such as tent encampments and underpasses, has also been delayed to Thursday, April 30.
By Mark Brown, Columnist | The city of Chicago is considering making hotel rooms available to homeless people during the coronavirus crisis to try to prevent the spread of the disease among that particularly vulnerable population. Homeless services providers were informed of the city’s emergency planning during a webinar presentation conducted by officials from three city agencies. Several California cities have taken steps toward using hotel rooms to house the homeless during the crisis.
CCH, like most organizations and people throughout the world, is taking the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. Because we want to ensure the health of staff and everyone we come in contact with, as well as do our part to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, our offices are closed. CCH staff is continuing to work and can be reached by email and phone. We have temporarily suspended all in-person outreach, including the Youth Futures mobile legal clinic, during this time. We actively advocating for concrete steps to ensure those experiencing homelessness are able to both protect themselves from possible infection and get appropriate treatment if an infection occurs.