Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-2019) - VA Homeless Programs
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VA Homeless Programs


Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-2019)

Information on this website does not supersede information provided by local health departments. Please consult local authorities for further guidance.

For more information about the COVID-19 Vaccine, visit COVID-19 Vaccines at VA.

VA is committed to helping all Veterans stay well and avoid becoming sick from COVID-19:

  • If you are enrolled in VA’s Homeless Program, contact your VA Homeless Program Case Manager for information about scheduling your COVID-19 vaccination.
  • If you are not enrolled in VA’s Homeless Program, please call 1-800-MyVA411 (800-698-2411) to find your local VA medical center for priority scheduling of your COVID-19 vaccination.

Veterans experiencing or at risk for homelessness are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 because of limited access to health care, pre-existing conditions, and lack of access to basic infection prevention and control methods. VA is committed to taking every possible precaution to protect the health and safety of these Veterans and is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal partners to develop and implement strategies to help prevent them from getting COVID-19.

To protect both Veterans and VA staff from COVID-19, VA personnel and grantees assigned to homelessness programs have implemented aggressive infection prevention techniques and response plans at all locations. Staff employ the following preventive methods based on guidance from CDC:

  • Frequent handwashing with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds
  • Persistent use of 60% or greater alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • Maintaining a distance of six feet from other people
  • Not shaking hands
  • Not touching their eyes, nose, or mouth

Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness are strongly encouraged to contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance. If Veterans do not have access to a phone or the internet, only then are they to visit their closest VA medical center without calling in advance. VA also urges Veterans who are not homeless or at risk of homelessness to contact their VA medical center before visiting for any reason. These steps are necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Each VA facility has created separate areas or zones to isolate Veterans with possible or confirmed COVID-19 from uninfected patients who need other routine and emergent care. VA is also identifying appropriate quarantine options for Veterans who are homeless to receive treatment if they are symptomatic or screen positive for COVID-19 but are not ill enough for hospital-level care.

COVID-19 Information from Other Federal Agencies
  • Refer to the website of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness for key resources recommended by the CDC and other organizations.
  • Find provisional guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for homeless service providers on planning for and responding to COVID-19.
  • Visit the CDC website for information on how to prepare your family in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in your community.
  • Learn about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and its impact on Veterans experiencing homelessness.
  • Visit the Internal Revenue Service website for the latest information on COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments.
  • Find information from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness on the federal agencies and organizations providing support and resources to individuals experiencing homelessness.
  • For the 5 ways resource: Learn about the 5 Ways communities can protect people experiencing homelessness from the rapidly spreading Delta variant.
  • Find information from the the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness' recently released guide to help people navigate the American Rescue Plan and the many ways it can prevent and end homelessness across the country.
  • Apply for FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program.

Information for Service Providers Helping Veterans Who Are Experiencing Homelessness

The CDC describes key actions that local and state health departments, homelessness service systems, housing authorities, emergency planners, health care facilities, and homeless outreach services can take to protect people experiencing homelessness from the spread of COVID-19.

Interim Guidance for Homeless Service Providers

This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about COVID-19 to help plan, prepare, and respond to this emerging public health threat.

External Partner Resources:

The CDC released a new training today called "COVID-19 and Homelessness Services: Training for Homeless Shelter Workers", available here. Learning objectives for this training include:

  • Identifying prevention and control strategies for coronavirus disease 2019.
  • Discussing community approach to COVID-19 response.
  • Describing changes to your facility's layout and procedures.
  • Identifying steps to screen people for possible symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Discussing considerations for unsheltered homelessness.

The National Association of the Deaf has released COVID-19 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communication Access Recommendations for the Hospitals, which includes guidance and resources to help reduce communication barriers due to face masks and social distancing protocols. We encourage you to share the following tips for improved communication with your teams:

  • Face the person you are talking to.
  • Speak slowly, clearly, and loudly but do not shout or yell.
  • Eliminate or reduce background noise as much as possible.
  • Provide written materials to Veterans to reiterate important information discussed during the appointment.
  • Be prepared during appointments with white boards, iPads, or yellow pads to facilitate written communication.
  • Consider the use of adapted cloth face masks for those who frequently engage with Veterans who have hearing loss or are deaf to allow those with hearing loss to read lips.

Other Related Resources

General Guidance and Information

For Vulnerable Populations

Mental Health and Addiction Support

Stress and Anxiety Management

For Tribal Communities

Information for Telehealth Employees

Emotional Wellness and Stress Reduction Resources for VA Medical Staff

Strong Practices: Limiting the Spread and Self Protection

Funding and Waiver Information

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