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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Estimated Emergency and Observational/Quarantine Capacity Need for the US Homeless Population Related to COVID-19 Exposure by County; Projected Hospitalizations, Intensive Care Units and Mortality

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This report estimates the potential hospitalization, ICU use and mortality rates associated with COVID-19 infection among the homeless population in the United States, as well as unmet need for emergency and observational/quarantine beds/units. Results project that homeless individuals infected by COVID-19 would be twice as likely to be hospitalized, two to four times as likely to require critical care, and two to three times as likely to die than the general population. The analysis suggests that 400,000 new beds are needed to meet the emergency accommodation and social distancing needs of the single adult homeless population on a given day, and that the total estimated cost to meet the nation’s emergency shelter and observational/quarantine units need is approximately $11.5 billion for one year. The second edition explores alternatives for emergency accommodation including private accommodations, congregate shelters, sheltering in place, and emergency coordination of care. 

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