RTFH First Continuum of Care in Nation to Seek Support from HUD
Leaders across San Diego County are coordinated in their efforts to reduce the risk of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) to people experiencing homelessness. Several action steps have already been taken and today at an emergency planning meeting the Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH) it was announced San Diego is the first continuum of care in the nation to coordinate with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
RTFH requested assistance from HUD in developing plans to address COVID-19 and support our service providers that work with shelters, supportive housing, and for San Diego’s unsheltered population.
“It is significant that we have the support at the federal level and we are bringing best practices from across the country to San Diego to help us mitigate the spread of COVID-19 amongst individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Tamera Kohler, CEO, Regional Task Force of the Homeless. “We are using an approach of compassion. We are sharing information in an equitable way.”
The County of San Diego is placing hand washing stations around the region and working with cities around the region to provide resources and coordinate placement; is sending homeless outreach teams to work with unsheltered individuals to provide information and give hygiene kits; is providing Public Health nurses to go to bridge tent structures to screen for symptoms and has been identifying possible locations should there be a need for a quarantine area.
“Individuals experiencing homelessness deserve the same care, compassion and information about COVID-19 as everyone else. We are aggressively working to make sure that happens,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, Co-Chair, County of San Diego’s COVID-19 Subcommittee. “We want San Diegans to know that our region is working together and coordinated in our response managing the spread of COVID-19 and we take seriously our obligation to protect our most vulnerable, including homeless individuals.”
In addition to the coordination with HUD, RTFH has been working with homeless services providers to educate, inform and monitor; will serve as a resource for providers who are expressing needs (increased staffing, supplies, transportation); and is forming a working group on COVID-19 to meet regularly on progress and needs of community
“Today’s meeting continues the planning efforts that the City, County and the Regional Task Force on the Homeless have been engaging in this past month to protect our unsheltered population,” said San Diego City Councilmember Chris Ward, who serves as Chair of the RTFH. “The information and perspectives shared today will help us most effectively deploy resources to homeless service providers and help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.”
The City of San Diego has committed to increase the sanitizing of shelters and public restrooms and is coordinating closely with the County, RTFH and providers on region-wide efforts.
“Protecting the health of all San Diegans is our top priority, including those living outdoors and in shelters. Regional leaders and stakeholders on homelessness met today to ensure that we are taking action now to prevent the spread of COVID-19, by enacting contingency plans, preparedness efforts and public information campaigns to reduce the spread of the virus. I ask all San Diegans to continue to follow the advice and common-sense hygiene recommendations of the County's public health professionals,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer.
For the latest information about COVID-19 visit www.coronavirus-sd.com or call 2-1-1.