Fighting the Coronavirus & Protecting the Unhoused: Policies & Polling

Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 376-2020

The Justice Collaborative

Data for Progress

Health in Justice Action Lab

7 Pages Posted: 22 May 2020 Last revised: 3 Nov 2020

See all articles by Leo Beletsky

Leo Beletsky

Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences; Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health, UCSD School of Medicine

Sterling Johnson

Angels in Motion

Date Written: March 18, 2020

Abstract

On any given night in the United States, federal government data shows that over 500,000 people do not have a home, a count that dramatically underestimates the scope of the problem. The core problem has consistently been lack of access to affordable housing, brought on by bad policy and refusal to take common-sense, evidence-based approaches. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought this problem into focus, as neighborhood organizers take bold actions after governments refused to – like occupying vacant or unused homes – to provide the policy solution public health experts agree works best: housing the homeless.

Unhoused populations are always vulnerable to health risks and disease, a vulnerability now heightened by the coronavirus epidemic and the spread of COVID-19. People without homes more often come into contact with potentially infected surfaces and people, and those in emergency shelters must congregate in tight spaces and share facilities like showers and laundry.

Keywords: homelessness, coronavirus, COVID-19

Suggested Citation

Beletsky, Leo and Johnson, Sterling, Fighting the Coronavirus & Protecting the Unhoused: Policies & Polling (March 18, 2020). Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 376-2020, The Justice Collaborative, Data for Progress, Health in Justice Action Lab, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3608300

Leo Beletsky (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-5540 (Phone)

Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health, UCSD School of Medicine ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0507
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Sterling Johnson

Angels in Motion ( email )

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