Lessons Learnt: Covid-19 Responses and Homelessness in Europe


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The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on people experiencing homelessness throughout Europe. On one side, the levels of exclusion experienced by those who did not have shelter in this period were exacerbated and, in some cases, especially in the initial phase, mitigation measures did not consider the needs of the most vulnerable in our society. On a more positive side, an unintended consequence of the policies adopted in this period in the name of public health was to reveal the importance of housing as a social determinant of health. Never before was it clearer that having a place to call ‘home’ was the most basic preventive measure for ensuring good health – #stayhome. The innovative solutions adopted by governments during the Covid-19 lockdown periods often revolved around providing shelter.

This paper examines the reponses of the homelessness sector and medicial professionals attending to those experiencing homelssness during the Covid-19 pandemic. Utilising the first-hand persepectives of those who provided these services, the paper analyses the strengths and challenges of the response, offering a range of recommendations for future care.