Resources

Coronavirus COVID-19

CNH3 is collecting resources to help the homelessness sector respond to a COVID-19 outbreak, and regularly updating this page with the best practices, tools and tips below.

People experiencing homelessness often have compromised health, compounding health issues and are at an elevated risk from viruses like COVID-19. Facilities, housing providers and other services that support people experiencing  homelessness (like shelters and drop-in centres) have increased risk of disease outbreaks, which is why we have compiled the below list of resources, best practices and tools to support efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Recommendations to Health Canada

(APRIL 5, 2020) CNH3 celebrates the release of the guidance for providers of services for people experiencing homelessness in the context of COVID-19 from Health Canada. It facilitates the direction of practice and preparation nationwide. Here, we summarize perspectives that may guide the implementation of these guidelines and future revisions: CNH3 Commentary on Health Canada’s “Guidance for providers of services for people experiencing homelessness (in the context of COVID-19).” – click this blue link to read our comments.

We initially provided Health Canada with recommendations in this document: Briefing and Recommendations on Isolation and Quarantine COVID-19 in the Homelessness Service Sector.

For the latest Health Canada updates of COVID-19 cases and information: Click Here.
Upcoming Webinars

CNH3 and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness are hosting COVID-19 webinars to support the homelessness-serving sector’s response to the pandemic.

Please check back regularly as we update this section with upcoming webinar registration information and links.


COVID-19 Information and Resource Links

For detailed COVID-19 resources, please consult the menu below:

Homelessness Response Frameworks

COVID-19 Response Framework for People Experiencing Homelessness (CNH3, 4 pages)
Details 4 key areas that communities should consider in their COVID-19 response for homeless populations: Testing for COVID-19; Sentinel Surveillance in Shelters; Coordination with Health Systems; and Risk Stratification through screening and cohorting.

COVID-19 Preparation for Homeless Populations (Government of Canada, Homelessness Policy Directorate)
Outlines eligible expenses under Reaching Home funding and key elements of a local pandemic plan.

Pandemic Planning and Services that Support People Who are Homeless (OrgCode, Blog)
Provides key considerations for pandemic planning in local contexts.

Response, Action and Wellness During a Pandemic (OrgCode, Blog)
Provides picture examples of how to arrange beds in shelters to respect social distancing and a list of things facilities should have if a community is opening a new space.

CNH3 & CAEH Webinars

Webinar: Supporting Harm Reduction in COVID-19 Shelter and Self-Isolation, April 2 (BC Centre for Substance Use, CAEH, 61 minutes) & PDF Presentation
Dr. Christy Sutherland, Medical Director of the Portland Hotel Society, presents strategies for supporting people who use drugs when they are in self-isolation or social distancing, discusses prescribing practices and how to help people stay away from the illicit drug market. The webinar includes a question and answer period.

Webinar: COVID-19 Response for Unsheltered Homeless People with Iain De Jong of OrgCode, April 1 (OrgCode, CAEH, 90 minutes) & Presentation PDF
Iain De Jong, OrgCode, offers strategies, tools and advice for providing outreach and support to unsheltered homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Second Preparing Homelessness Services for Coronavirus with Dr. Aaron Orkin, March 25 (CAEH & CNH3)
In this webinar Dr. Aaron Orkin, a public health, family, and emergency physician with the Inner City Health Associates, answers questions and offers resources, insights and advice to help organizations prepare for a coronavirus outbreak.

Preparing Homelessness Services for Coronavirus with Dr. Aaron Orkin, March 18 (CAEH & CNH3)
In this webinar Dr. Aaron Orkin, a public health, family, and emergency physician with the Inner City Health Associates, answers questions and offers resources, insights and advice to help organizations prepare for a coronavirus outbreak.

COVID-19 Fact Sheets & Posters

CAEH ONE-PAGER: Promoting Healthy Practices (CAEH, 2 pages)

Plain Language Information Sheets (Public Health Agency of Canada, Website)
A series of 1-Page awareness documents that can be printed and posted in homelessness service settings. It includes Vulnerable Populations and COVID-19; Social Distancing; Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces; Difference between Self-Monitoring, Self-Isolation, and Isolation; Handwashing; and more. Available in 6 languages.

Coronavirus infection: Symptoms and treatment (Public Health Agency of Canada, Website)
Provides an overview of symptoms and a link to a self-assessment.

Medical Mask Types and How to Use Them (JAMA Network, Article)

Stop the Spread – 1 Page Public Health Flyer in 30+ languages (Translation Services, Website)
Quick overview of how people can help prevent the spread of COVID-19

Screening Tools & Referral Flow Charts & Transportation
Screening Tools

COVID-19 Screening Tool for Shelter Staff (Street CCRED, 2 pages)
Simple process for shelter staff to send a shelter resident to an isolation site on Page 1. Screening questions to ask shelter residents on Page 2.

COVID-19 Screening Tool for Homelessness Service Settings (SSHA, City of Toronto, 2 pages)
Screening questions for service providers to ask at intake or with existing clients on Page 1. Process for continuing to shelter, self-isolation on-site or at a separate isolation site, or transfer to a COVID-19 assessment centre or ER based on answers to screening questions on Page 2.

Referral Flow Charts

COVID-19 Referral Flow Chart (SSHA, City of Toronto, 1 page)
Overview of Screening Process for Service Providers in Toronto including shelters and drop-ins.

COVID-19 Referral Flow Chart for Homelessness (Alberta Health Services, 1 page)

COVID-19 Referral Flow Chart (State of California, 1 page)

Transportation

Instructions for Arranging Non-Emergency Transportation for Shelter, 24-Hour Respite and 24-Hour Drop-in Clients to COVID-19 Assessment (SSHA, City of Toronto, 2 pages)
Transportation process in Toronto for sending non-emergency clients to COVID-19 Testing/Assessment Sites.

Infection Prevention & Control in Shelters & Homelessness Service Settings

Guidance for Providers of Services for People Experiencing Homelessness (Government of Canada, Public Health)

Interim Guidance for Homeless Shelters (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Website)
Detailed actions that shelter providers can take before, during, and after a COVID-19 outbreak.

Preventing & Managing the Spread of Infectious Disease Within Shelters (US HUD, 25 pages)
Outlines guidelines for managing the spread in U.S. shelters. Pages 16 – 19 provide sample cleaning checklists that could be applied in Canada shelters.

Infection Prevention & Control Resources for Homelessness Service Settings (Toronto Public Health, 66 pages)
Outlines cleaning and PPE procedures for staff working in homeless service settings, including changing gloves per task and proper cleaning and disinfection protocols.

Guidance for Providers of Services to Albertans Experiencing (or at-risk of) Homelessness: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention and Preparation (Alberta Government, 13 pages)
Provides brief overview of prevention considerations for service provider agencies, food handling, and planning for an outbreak. Page 9 outlines what to do if a client shows symptoms.

Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Tips for Homelessness Service Setting Providers (Toronto Public Health, 4 pages)

Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Homelessness Service Settings (Peterborough Public Health, 4 pages)
Provides basics on how staff can protect themselves in homeless service settings, including a risk assessment to help identify when and how PPE should be used.

Operating Shelter & Motel Sites

Interim Covid Shelter (ICS)– Procedure Handbook (County of Wellington, 17 pages)
Wellington has shut down shelters and moved everyone to a hotel. Organizations have combined staff to provide onsite supports. This handbook provides guidelines on operating the hotel.

Operating Isolation Sites

Isolation Site for Individuals Who Are Homeless: High Level Policies and Procedure Overview (Inner City Health Associates, 32 pages)
Details how to set up an isolation site for people experiencing homelessness and procedures to manage admission (Page 9) and transfer (Page 11) to the site. Minimum staffing positions, functions, and staff to unit ratios for different “grades” of clients – can help with identifying appropriate staffing roles based on client needs (Page 7-8).

Emergency Supported Isolation Centre– Procedure Handbook (Drop In Centre, 22 pages)
The Drop In Centre in Guelph, Ontario has opened a non-medical Supported Isolation Centre. This handbook provides guidelines in operating the new centre.

Guidelines for Encampments & People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness

COVID-19: Essential Services for Encampments During an Infectious Disease Outbreak (HUD, 3 pages)

Webinar: COVID-19 Response for Unsheltered Homeless People with Iain De Jong of OrgCode, April 1 (OrgCode, CAEH, 90 minutes) & Presentation PDF
Iain De Jong, OrgCode, offers strategies, tools and advice for providing outreach and support to unsheltered homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interim Guidance for Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) among People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Website)
Provides key actions for outreach teams to support unsheltered populations.

Preventing & Managing the Spread of Infectious Disease within Encampments (US HUD, 17 pages)
Outlines considerations for U.S. communities in managing spread in encampments. Sample checklists and signage on Pages 13 – 17.

COVID-19 Guidance Note: Protecting Residents of Informal Settlements (UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, 2 pages)

Requesting Local Health System & Public Health Support

CAEH ONE-PAGER: Requesting Leadership & Support from Local Public Health Authorities (CAEH, 4 pages)

COVID-19 and Persons Experiencing Homelessness or Vulnerable Housing (Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, 3 pages)
Lists do’s and don’ts for healthcare in serving homeless populations during COVID-19, including direction to not discharge from hospital without a support plan (Page 2).

COVID-19 and Homelessness in Alberta: Urgent Call to Support our Shelters (Street CCRED, 5 pages)
Calls for Support from policy makers in all levels of government and Alberta Public Health. List of key supports required and the body that can provide the support on Page 2.

Memo – Homelessness and COVID-19: Testing and Isolation (Inner City Health Associates, 1 page)
For communities in Ontario, outlines how the Ministry of Health has called for testing for people with acute respiratory illnesses who reside in institutions, including shelters, and therefore shows the need for local Public Health Authorities to plan and coordinate COVID-19 testing for shelter clients.

Guidance for providers of services for people experiencing homelessness in the context of COVID-19 (Health Canada, Website)
Outlines how local Public Health Authorities are to collaborate with service providers to ensure safety measures are in place, including establishing plans to reduce the risk of transmission in the areas of diagnostic testing, self-isolation, isolation, and clinical management if clients or staff have exposure or develop symptoms.

Communicating Service Changes to Providers

The following documents communicate service changes to service providers or clients. The language used or templates provided may prove helpful for community leaders looking to quickly communicate changes or updates to community partners in their jurisdiction.

Shelter Provider, 24-Hour Respite Site and 24-Hour Women’s Drop-In – Questions & Answers COVID-19 Response (SSHA, City of Toronto, 7 pages)

Sample COVID-19 Community Communication (2 pages, draft email format)

Updates on COVID-19 Response Planning for Homelessness Services (City of Toronto, SSHA, 4 pages)

Sample Letter: Communication with Housing Providers about COVID-19 Response (Dufferin County, 2 pages)

Sample Letter: Communication with Housing Tenants about COVID-19 Response (Dufferin County, 2 pages)

Harm Reduction & Drug Supply

COVID-19: Information for opioid agonist treatment prescribers and pharmacists (BCCSU, 3 pages)

Risk Mitigation in the Context of Dual Public Health Emergencies (BCCSU, 18 pages)
This protocol is intended to provide clinical guidance to health-care providers to support patients to mitigate these competing priorities and compounded risks and enable social distancing and self-isolation measures, where possible, to reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Safer Drug Use During the COVID-19 Outbreak (Harm Reduction Coalition, 2 page)
Find this resource in other languages: click here.

Webinar: Supporting Harm Reduction in COVID-19 Shelter and Self-Isolation, April 2 (BC Centre for Substance Use, CAEH, 61 minutes) & PDF Presentation
Dr. Christy Sutherland, Medical Director of the Portland Hotel Society, presents strategies for supporting people who use drugs when they are in self-isolation or social distancing, discusses prescribing practices and how to help people stay away from the illicit drug market. The webinar includes a question and answer period.

PHS COVID-19 Social Distancing & Quarantine Protocol – Drug Supply & Support (Portland Hotel Society, 3 pages)
Outlines different options for providing safe medications to people experiencing homelessness who are isolated or are in quarantine.

Overdose Safety and Support During COVID-19 (Homeless Services Association of BC, webinar, 1.5 hours)

COVID & Safer Drug Use (Streethealthops, 1 page) 
A one-page flyer that quickly outlines four tips to prevent COVID-19 when using drugs.

Overdose Droplet Precautions for COVID-19 (BCCDC Harm Reduction Services, 1 page)

Domestic Violence Sector Resources

Coronavirus and women’s shelters: Planning, preparation and response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS) and Asian Network of Women’s Shelters, Webinar)

Preventing & Managing the Spread of COVID-19 Within Domestic Violence Programs (National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, website)

Women’s Shelter Canada COVID-19 Resource (Women’s Shelters Canada, Website)

Supporting Survivors’ Access to Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services During the COVID-19 Emergency (National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health, 3 pages)

Preventing Housing Loss: Rental & Income Supports

CAEH ONE-PAGER: Preventing Eviction (CAEH, 5 pages)

Resources for Landlord and Tenants (Liv, Blog)
Comprehensive list of helplines and rental and financial assistance by province and territory, federal programs, and financial bank support for mortgage referrals and emergency relief.

Help for Renters Across Canada (Global News, article, updated April 2)
Up-to-date summary of rent and income support by province.

Information Document with Provincial Contacts and COVID-19 Tips (Dr. Jennifer Robson, Associate Professorof Political Management at Carleton University, 15 pages)
This document includes who to contact in the government for financial support by province, and a Q&A around employment, contracting COVID-19 and other helpful tips related to the pandemic.

Housing People, Continuing Coordinated Access & Housing Programs

CAEH ONE-PAGER: Coordinated Access in a Pandemic (CAEH, 2 pages)

CAEH ONE-PAGER: Finding & Securing Housing in a Pandemic (CAEH, 3 pages)

CAEH ONE-PAGER: Home Visits During a Pandemic (CAEH, 2 pages)

CAEH ONE-PAGER: Meaningful Activities that Respect Social Distancing (CAEH, 3 pages)

Webinar: Housing as a Part of COVID-19 Response, March 27 (CAEH, 15 minutes) & Powerpoint PDF
Built for Zero Canada Improvement Advisor Amanda DiFalco outlines how to remain housing-focused during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Housing First and COVID-19 (Europe Housing First Hub)
Housing Support Guidelines, recommendations for telephone support, template for housing first teams to coordinate and deliver consistent support during COVID-19, 

Leadership, Staffing, Fundraising
Leadership

Leading in the Homelessness Services Sector in Turbulent Times & PDF of Presentation (Orgcode, March 25 Webinar Recording)
Outlines a decision-making matrix to help prioritize decisions; communications and information sharing among community leaders; planning for each wave and phase of COVID-19, and; opportunities for innovation. 

Staffing

CAEH ONE-PAGER: Staff Recruitment (CAEH, 2 pages)

CAEH ONE-PAGER: Maintaining Staff Morale (CAEH, 2 pages)

CAEH ONE-PAGER: Self-Care in a Crisis (CAEH, 4 pages)

Key Human Factors Messages When Working Under Pressure (Clinical Human Factors Group, 2 pages)

Fundraising

Launch Fundraising Appeals Through CanadaHelps (CanadaHelps, Website)

Sourcing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

MDT Personal Protection Supplies Order Form (MDT)
A bulk supplier – minimum quantities are large – may be suited to a municipal or CE purchasing for distribution to local agencies. 

Community SOS Supplies Form (Community SOS, Website)
Resource for organizations in need of supplies: fill-out form of supplies needed, which is then put into a map where folks with supplies can see where the need is and potentially supply them.

BargainsGroup Supplies Order Form (BargainsGroup) – a company based in Toronto that regularly works with homeless services and has a supply of gloves, masks and hand sanitizer for sale that they can ship anywhere in Canada. For more information on BargainsGroup please visit their website: bargainsgroup.com or contact the BargainsGroup Team at info@bargainsgroup.com or T. 416-785-5655 • 1-877-868-5655.

Activating Civil Society & Volunteers

Activating Civil Society in the COVID-19 Pandemic Response (Help Seeker, Webinar) & PowerPoint PDF

A Guide to Addressing and Preventing Social Stigma with COVID-19 (WHO, UNICEF, IFRC, 5 pages)

Help Next Door Manitoba (Manitoba Government, Website)
Connects people and organizations who need help with others who are available to volunteer their assistance.

Lessons from SARS, H1N1 and Pre-COVID19 Pandemic Plans

Statewide Connecticut COVID-19 Homeless Response Assessment for Shelter (DOH Statewide Connecticut, 18 pages)
Survey for service providers to assess readiness and inform planning for anticipated spread of COVID-19 in homelessness service settings.

Pandemic Preparedness and Homelessness: Lessons from H1N1 in Canada (Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, Book)
Outlines challenges of pandemic planning in the context of homelessness. Features four case studies on how Canadian cities responded to the H1N1 Outbreak in relation to homeless populations.

Toronto Pandemic Influenza Plan: A Planning Guide for Homeless and Housing Service Providers (Toronto Public Health, 32 pages)
Outlines Toronto Public Health’s role during a pandemic and identifies critical elements of emergency preparedness that businesses should consider in planning.

Homelessness and the Response to Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks: Lessons from SARS (National Center for Biotechnology Information, Article) 
Highlights need for pandemic plans that account for vulnerable populations based on interviews with public health officials and homelessness service providers who were involved responding to the SARS outbreak in Toronto. 

Preventing & Managing the Spread of Infectious Disease for People Experiencing Homelessness (US HUD, 35 pages)
Page 28 provides key areas of responsibilities and actions during mitigation and response phases.

Additional Resource Lists

Homeless Hub COVID-19 Wiki (Community Solutions)
A place where US community providers working with people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic can share their plans, ideas, documents, observations, etc. with one another.

Infectious Diseases Toolkit for CoCs (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)

Equity Informed Responses to COVID-19 (National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, Website)

Pandemic Planning: COVID-19 (Homelessness Learning Hub, Website)

COVID-19 Resource Guide (Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, Website)

Coronavirus and Homelessness (US, National Alliance to End Homelessness, Website)

Homebase COVID-19 Response (Homebase, Website)

CSH COVID-19 Supportive Housing Community Platform (Corporation for Supportive Housing, Website)

Full List of CAEH One-Pagers