PROVIDENCE, RI – Crossroads RI, the state’s leading provider of services and support for families and individuals experiencing homelessness, warns that 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. Crossroads RI has received guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is in regular communications with the Rhode Island Department of Health.
“Individuals and families experiencing homelessness may face greater risks of potential COVID-19 infections; however, they should still seek shelter and support to find permanent housing. Crossroads RI is taking necessary precautions to protect staff, clients and guests from infection,” said Crossroads Chief Operating Officer Michelle Wilcox. “Crossroads is in regular communication with the Rhode Island Department of Health, and we have plans in place to respond in the event of any suspected or confirmed case in our shelters. There have not been any suspected or confirmed cases at Crossroads facilities at this time.”
Crossroads RI is implementing the CDC’s recommendations on how to best protect staff, clients, and guests, including plans to isolate anyone who shows sign of infection, identifying space across Crossroads’ network of shelters to accommodate clients with mild respiratory symptoms who do not require hospital care, and making plans for higher potential usage of shelter during an outbreak. Crossroads RI is urging all staff, clients, and guests to take necessary precautions, including washing hands and maintaining at least three feet of space. Crossroads is providing information to clients, staff, and guests detailing precaution measures in multiple languages.
Measures are being taken to minimize the number of staff who have face-to-face interactions with clients. Additionally, Crossroads RI will reassign staff and volunteers at high risk of severe COVID-19 (older individuals and those with underlying health conditions) away from work that provides care to sick clients.
A link to HUD’s interim guidance for homeless providers is available here.