How can my agency prepare for the potential spread of coronavirus?

How can my agency prepare for the potential spread of coronavirus?

How can we prepare for COVID-19 when our clients face additional risks and the information that is available is not entirely applicable?


March 17, 2020

Managing pandemic outbreaks within the context of homelessness requires measures that go beyond mainstream approaches. In this blog post on the Homeless Hub, Kristy Buccieri, Associate Professor at Trent University, outline important points to consider when creating a plan for COVID-19. In particular, she notes if your agency doesn't have a plan, or an update is needed to the existing plan, consider the following:

  • Designate one person within the agency to be the pandemic lead, so that there is a clear point-person for communication internally and externally.
  • Create a list of all staff members, including their contact information. Within that list include any skills that person may have that could be useful in the event of a severe outbreak, such as First Aid training, cooking skills, or knowledge of multiple languages.
  • Identify a communication strategy within the plan – including how information about COVID-19 will be acquired, such as through the local Public Health Agency, and how that information will be communicated to staff and clients.
  • Implement infection control protocols that include hand-washing and disinfecting surfaces with anti-bacterial cleansers. It may be advisable to distribute hand wipes or to post liquid dispensers in clear view of staff to avoid client consumption of the liquid sanitizers, as occasionally occurred during the H1N1 outbreak.
  • Consider what capacity exists, or could be created, for outreach services. Client use of drop-in centres declined during H1N1, and nutritional and hygiene supports would be primary supplies needed if the same service-avoidance occurred.

We've also collected some practical resources here to support agencies and frontline staff, and we'll continue to update the list as new resources become available.