Campaign launched to highlight need to protect homeless beyond Covid

by Gazette Reporter

Homeless charity Depaul have launched an awareness campaign, highlighting the need to protect those experiencing homelessness beyond the Covid period.

The charity is currently providing support to 66% of 235 ‘shielding beds’ currently set up to protect the most vulnerable living in the homeless population, including those most medically compromised in terms of contracting Covid-19.

The shielding units are being delivered with the Health Service Executive, where onsite medical interventions, including nursing staff and dual diagnosis workers, are available.

Some of the medical needs of those residing in these shielding units include people with terminally ill diagnosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) and severe asthma. The charity has also noticed an acute deterioration in mental health up to and including self-harm and suicidal ideation.

Depaul CEO David Carroll said: “There has been a huge effort to protect those living in homelessness during Covid, in particular those who would have been the most medically compromised.

“The collaboration between various agencies has been instrumental in making this happen. We are now in a position where the most vulnerable are being shielded in private rooms.

“However, as positive steps continue in terms of a vaccine our hope is that the good work done during Covid, in particular around health supports is maintained.

“The collaboration between the Health Service Executive and other statutory agencies must continue in order to provide the vital health supports required for those experiencing chronic homelessness and addiction.

“People experiencing homelessness already start off on an unequal footing in terms of accessing traditional health care. With these shielding units we have been able to bring health care to people with chronic health needs. We need to ensure this continues beyond Covid.”

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