The homeless population in DC has benefited tremendously from the increased availability of COVID19 vaccine. As of April 23, 2021 at total of 4,323 doses had been administered to individuals experiencing homelessness and staff across the shelter system. In addition over 315 unsheltered individuals were fully vaccinated. It was noted that 89% of shelter staff and clients due for second doses went back and received it. Overall, there is recognized reduction in the amount of COVID-19 positive cases amongst individuals experiencing homelessness as well as increased numbers willing to take the vaccine – realizing the health benefit of the vaccine's protection against COVID-19.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) and partnering providers across the homeless continuum have been working collaboratively with Unity Health Care to make the vaccine administration easily accessible to the Homeless Community. Although, there remain ongoing concerns in lieu of the continued pandemic, there is a collective sense that the threat of the pandemic is gradually receding among the homeless – the availability of the vaccine being a major factor.
We are hopeful that we will witness a more significant reduction in COVID-19 cases as a result of more individuals receiving full vaccination in the coming weeks and months.
The 2021 Point in Time Count of Homeless (PIT) in DC was conducted on January 27, 2021:
- On any given night there are 5,111 homeless persons in the District of Columbia: 681 unsheltered persons (i.e. persons “on the street”);
- 3,352 persons in Emergency Shelters; and
- 1,078 persons in Transitional Housing facilities.
The results of this year’s PIT count show that the total number of persons experiencing homelessness in the District decreased by 19.9 percent from 2020, and family homelessness decreased by nearly 50% since last year and by 68.1% since the 2017 PIT count. Homelessness among unaccompanied individuals also decreased 2% between 2020 and 2021. Though small, this drop is significant in that it is the first decrease among unaccompanied individuals in five years. See attached Comprehensive Report.
While the public health emergency has had an impact on system inflow, investments in prevention, housing, and creating more efficient programs are having an impact.
Shelter Hotline fulfilled numerous asks from DHS for transporting clients under unique circumstances during the critical months of the pandemic. We continue to work towards enhancing our customer service capacity to effectively meet the needs of a diverse homeless population through diversity training and effective utilization of Language Line/Interpreter Services and remain committed to our mission of providing critical lifesaving support to individuals and families experiencing homeless in the District.
To date Help UPO Help the DC Homeless has raised more than $34,800 to fund life-sustaining comfort items we distribute to the DC Homeless. We sincerely thank each one of our 349 Project Supporters who have helped us reach this point.
We would like to reach our current Goal of $50,000 by July 31st, 2021 to secure our funding to the end of the year. Please consider renewing your support to Help UPO Help the DC Homeless today and please tell your relatives and friends about our lifesaving work.