Coronavirus and Homelessness Resources

Last Updated - April 7, 2020

This resource guide is intended to provide useful information to providers of homeless shelters, transitional housing, drop-in centers, and other homeless services to assist with preparation and prevention of spread of COVID-19 in Pima County. 

STAY UP TO DATE

TPCH Covid-19 Preparedness & Response Basecamp: TPCH has created a Basecamp Team for housing and homeless service providers to share tools, resources, and information about COVID-19, strategies being used for preparedness and response, and changes in local practices and approaches.  The Basecamp provides a forum for TPCH members to communicate directly and share information in real time.  Join the Basecamp here.  Unfamiliar with Basecamp? Check out this brief video tutorial.

Daily Pima County Public Health Updates: The Pima County Health Department is posting a daily video update focused primarily on the coronavirus update.  Video updates can be viewed on the Pima County Youtube channel.

TPCH INTERIM GUIDANCE

REGULATORY WAIVERS FOR COC, ESG, AND HOPWA PROGRAMS

On April 1, 2020, HUD released a memorandum outlining several regulatory waivers related to the Continuum of Care (CoC), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) programs.  The memorandum also outlines regulatory waivers related to consolidated planning for consolidated plan jurisdictions.  Review HUD guidance and the official memorandum on the HUD Exchange.

In response to the memorandum, the Region IX HUD Community Planning & Development (CPD) Field Office issued instructions for the submission of waiver notifications.  CoC, ESG, and HOPWA recipients must email a written notification regarding the use of waivers at least 2 days before beginning use.  Written notifications must be provided on the approved template and emailed to CPD_COVID-19WaiverSFO@hud.gov.  Copy michael.p.flores@hud.gov and tpch@tucsonaz.gov on all waiver submissions.

Download the Region IX waiver notification template here.

TPCH hosted a 60-minute webinar on April 7, 2020 to provide an overview of the regulatory waivers for the CoC, ESG, and HOPWA programs including instructions for subrecipient agencies wishing to make use of waivers through the City of Tucson, Pima County, and Arizona Department of Economic Security.

View the recorded webinar here.  We apologize for the audio quality.

Download the webinar slide deck here.

EMERGENCY FUNDING

Arizona Community Foundation - COVID-19 Community Response Fund:  The Arizona COVID-19 Community Response Fund will provide flexible resources to nonprofit organizations in Arizona working with communities who are impacted by COVID-19. For more information or to complete the brief application for funds, visit the Arizona Community Foundation website.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES

TPCH is coordinating closely with health officials and community partners to assist homeless services providers in the response to COVID-19.  TPCH encourages all providers of shelter, transitional housing, and other congregate settings to review these resources, as well as to continue to check back with the Arizona Department of Health Services website on the status of coronavirus in the United States on the status of COVID-19 in our state and the Centers for Disease Control’s page on COVID-19 on the status of coronavirus in the United States.

Local information and guidance is available at the Pima County Health Department website

The State of Arizona and 211 Arizona have partnered to launch a COVID-19 hotline to answer questions from the public regarding community resources, testing, symptoms, and other issues related to COVID-19.  Dial 2-1-1 from any Arizona phone to be connected or visit www.211arizona.org for assistance. 

NOTE: At this time, we are strongly urging homeless shelters and other services providers to remain open, while modifying services delivery and implementing measures to minimize community spread of COVID-19.

Summary of National Resources

State Resources

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Infectious Disease Toolkits

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has published a set of infectious disease toolkits for homeless services providers, including a toolkit for providers of shelter. This toolkit outlines specific important steps that shelters can take such as implementing preventive sanitation measures, using a cough alert policy to identify potential respiratory illnesses early, health screening questions and protocols, tips on implementing an isolation practice, tips on when to bring residents to hospitals or clinics and readmit them to shelter, and information on staff training.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and HUD Technical Assistance (TA) materials

Families and individuals experiencing homelessness are more vulnerable to infectious diseases due to lack of access to primary care, mobility, and poor health status from extended episodes of homelessness. HUD strongly encourages Continuums of Care (CoCs) to contact local public health departments, Healthcare for the Homeless agencies, and other local health partners to ensure the unique needs and opportunities related to the homeless service system are incorporated. CoCs can take steps now to develop preparedness and response plans to protect against infection.

HUD resources are regularly being updated and posted to the HUD Exchange Disease Risks and Homelessness Page. mHUD is also available to provide technical assistance to homeless assistance providers who need support in preventing or responding to the spread of infectious disease. Please submit your questions to the Ask A Question (AAQ) portal. In Step 2 of the question submission process, select “CoC: Continuum of Care Program” from the “My question is related to” drop down list and write “Health Preparedness and Response” in the subject line.

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council’s Coronavirus Resource Page

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council has compiled a set of useful resources on COVID-19, along with their guide to helping treat and prevent the spread of pandemic influenza.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness Coronavirus Blog

The National Alliance to End Homelessness has published a blog on COVID-19, including a link to a webinar that will take place on March 10 at 3:00pm.

In addition to these resources, shelters and other homeless services providers should continue to take everyday preventative measures to help stop the spread of germs that cause all illnesses, including flu and coronavirus:

  • Ensure that staff and residents wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Encourage staff and residents to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Make sure tissues are available, and encourage staff and residents to cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Encourage staff should stay home when they are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

TPCH will continue to provide updates and additional resources as needed on coronavirus (COVID-19) to our members and providers of homeless services. Thank you for all that you do every day to ensure the health and wellness of people experiencing homelessness in our region!

Sample Documents & Service Recommendations from Other Communities

Seattle/King County

Los Angeles

Connecticut

Sample Preparation Plans from Shelter and Services Providers:

Sample Notices of Reduced or Modified Services:

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Operation Deep Freeze (ODF) is CURRENTLY OFF 

Operation Deep Freeze (ODF) is Tucson's winter severe-weather emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness. ODF goes into effect when weather predictions are for overnight temperatures of 40°F or lower with rain, 35°F or lower without rain, or when wind chill factors indicate a health hazard from exposure. You do not need an ID or a TB card to participate in ODF.

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