Being homeless means you are more vulnerable to the spread of infectious disease than are people with housing. The rigours of life on the streets mean that people experiencing homelessness have compromised health and are vulnerable to the spread of infectious disease. Our institutional response to homelessness that largely relies on emergency services such as shelters and day programs compounds the problem by forcing people into congregate settings that are often overcrowded, lack private spaces and do not have adequate resources to enhance and protect personal hygiene. Many people experiencing homelessness are also forced to spend much or all of their time in public spaces.

All of this suggests that we need extraordinary measures to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness.