Western Regional Advocacy Project: Statement Regarding COVID-19

With the spread of COVID-19, we must remember that our communities’ health is interconnected — it is critical to ensure adequate medical care and hygiene for every person, especially those who are unhoused. Many houseless people are immunocompromised or disabled due to the difficulties of living without shelter. Many are elders. We should resist any further stigmatization of those living in encampments or shelters and demand they are provided the resources to prevent infection and further spread of the virus. We demand that public officials work to ensure the health of both our unhoused and housed communities.

Moratorium on encampment sweeps, closures and vehicle tows. Encampment sweeps and closures shall be ended due to the necessity for sustained public health outreach and disease control as has been done in cities such as San Jose. Sweeps pose a serious health risk as they disrupt consistent access to services and ability for outreach and health workers to provide continuous care. These services are critical at this time. Shelters are not a solution for many people as they pose an increased risk of contracting illnesses due to close contact with others. Many will choose to stay on the streets where one can have more space, open air, and better ways to avoid contact spread of the virus. Forcing people to live in close quarters is not an acceptable solution.
Moratorium on evictions. Halt all eviction processes immediately and put a moratorium on evictions. Preserving existing housing is necessary as it allows self-quarantine and prevents more people from ending up on the street. It is also unsafe for many people, especially those who are elderly or immunocompromised, to appear in crowded courts in order to defend against their evictions.

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