ProJo: Our Turn: Karen Santilli and Jack McConnell: Virus proves housing is health care
Posted Mar 26, 2020 at 4:40 PM
We are all grappling with a challenge the likes of which no one living has ever seen. Governors across the country — including Gov. Gina Raimondo — and public health leaders like Crossroads RI board member Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott have carefully managed the rapidly evolving crisis.
Their message to stay home and keep social distance seems to have been heard by Rhode Islanders. While we were one of the first states on the East Coast to confirm an infection, our reported rate of spread is lower than our neighboring states and we haven't seen reports of widespread hotspots.
That's good news, but it's naïve to assume we will remain so lucky, especially if we don't take more direct and immediate steps to address the housing challenges of our most vulnerable populations.
Unfortunately, individuals and families experiencing homelessness are at an increased risk of COVID-19. Many already suffer from multiple chronic health conditions. Others have weakened immune systems and limited access to health care. And it can be difficult to stay home, keep social distance, and wash your hands without a place to call home.
Courtesy of Providence Journal