It is well known within our sector that people with no home are at high COVID harm risk. They are substantially more likely than even the most deprived housed people to report having chronic diseases such as asthma, heart problems and stroke. They are also prone to a higher than average number of long-term health conditions and are old before their time. Levels of frailty – including unintentional weight loss, weakness and low levels of physical activity – among those experiencing homelessness are comparable to 89-year-olds in the general population.
Furthermore, people with no home die young. According to the ONS, the mean age at death of homeless people in 2019 was 46 years for men, 43 years for women as compared to the general population mean age of 76 years for men and 81 years for women.
Just as residents of care homes are at higher clinical risk of severe disease, so are those who use single homeless hostels and other shared homeless accommodation for rough sleepers. Consequently, frontline homelessness workers are also at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 and of transmitting an infection to the susceptible people they support.
Frontline health and social care workers are already considered a priority for vaccination and we believe that, by the same rationale, those working in single homeless hostels and other shared accommodation for homeless people should also be given precedence.
We have written to the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment to ask that working with people who have no home is treated as a priority occupation for vaccination, as a matter for urgency.
You can help strengthen our call by writing to your local MP to ask that they immediately raise this critical matter with the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment on behalf of their constituents. Service staff may also wish to write a letter, if they live in a different constituency to the one(s) they work in.
You could consider including the following information in your letter:
- The number and location of your projects or services within your MP’s constituency
- The numbers of staff and people you support
- The numbers of staff and beneficiaries who have had a positive COVID test
- The reasons (and urgency) for the need for homelessness staff and people experiencing homelessness to be vaccinated
We hope that you will consider supporting us in this important campaign.
For further information or advice, please contact our Policy Manager, Sue Christoforou at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07375 042 814.