MEASURES DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

Have specific measures to protect the health or food rights of homeless people have been approved during this COVID-19 crisis?

SPAIN

Yes. A series of measures have been announced and approved by the Spanish government in this regard during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Social Services have been entrusted a series of tasks by the Spanish government: (i) to deliver everyday hygiene, food and beverage kits to homeless people, (ii) to orientate the homeless about COVID-19 and to explain them the preventive measures to be taken in order to avoid that they contract COVID-19, (iii) to take their temperature, (iv) to create social canteens to deliver take away food, (v) to enhance the social centres with health professionals and with cleaning and disinfection services.

BELGIUM

  • Drinking water

Brussels reopened drinking fountains around Brussels earlier during the year to facilitate the accessibility of drinking water to homeless (as of the end of March instead of mid-April).


  • Food distribution

The food distribution in Brussels moved to a more spacious area so homeless people were able to eat while keeping sufficient distance (from metrostation Kruidtuin to nearby the Central Station).


  • Shelter

Hotels and beds in separate locations. 

FRANCE

The French State has set aside a fund of several million of euros to increase the carrying capacity of the emergency accommodation system. Thus, several accommodation and confinement centers were opened, and several thousand of hotel rooms were provided during the health crisis to house homeless people.

Moreover, the government has set up an exceptional service voucher distribution system (for a total of 15 million euros) enabling food and hygiene products to be purchased during the health crisis.

SWITZERLAND

There are no specific measures taken on a national level to protect the health and food rights of homeless people. However, on a cantonal and municipal level many governmental and private institutions have adapted their offers and services to the recommendation of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) on hygiene and social distancing, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

UNITED KINGDOM

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced £6million of emergency funding to provide relief for frontline homelessness charitable organisations who are directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Grants are available for either/or both of the following purposes:

  • to help alleviate the financial impact of COVID-19 on the organisation,

  • to provide new or adapted services to homeless people affected by COVID-19.

UNITED STATES (NY CITY & STATE)

The City of New York has established a COVID-19 Emergency Food Distribution program for all New Yorkers. Homeless individuals are able to obtain meals through this program.  However, the program is not specifically designed for the homeless and it is not clear whether homeless individuals are getting access to information about this program. 
The City also published guidelines for homeless shelters to handle the COVID-19 crisis.

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