Infectious Disease Preparedness for Homeless Populations: Recommendations from a Community-Academic Partnership

Online Publication Date:
May 16, 2023
Publication Status:
Published Article MUSE Link:
Manuscript PDF File:

**Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships 18.1 (PCHP). All rights reserved.**


Background: People experiencing homelessness are at increased risk of infectious disease transmission due to congregate living conditions, barriers to healthcare, and excess burden of underlying chronic disease.

Objectives: We are a multisectoral community-academic partnership working to address the intersecting crises of homelessness and health disparities in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. We offer key recommendations for infectious disease preparedness and risk mitigation for homeless populations based on our ongoing community-based participatory research and lessons learned through COVID-19 response and Monkeypox preparations.

Lessons Learned: Infectious disease preparedness and response in homeless populations requires strong local partnerships; ongoing training and support for staff and volunteers of homeless shelters and service agencies; tailored outreach, education, and communication with people experiencing homelessness; and standardize processes for creating, disseminating, enforcing, and evaluating public health policies in homeless shelters. Consistency and open communication are key to a successful community-academic partnership.

Conclusions: Community-academic partnerships are critical to effective infectious disease preparedness in homeless populations. The lessons learned from community-based participatory research with homeless communities and multisectoral partners on the frontline can improve future outbreak and pandemic response for people experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable communities in the US.