Coalition for the Homeless and Other Homeless Advocates Urge Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo to Start Free COVID-19 Testing for Homeless New Yorkers & Homeless Services Staff and Volunteers

COVID-19 Related Hospitalizations of People in Homeless Shelters Surging; Homeless New Yorkers Experience Compounding Risks from Exposure to COVID-19

NEW YORK, NY — The Coalition for the Homeless and several other advocacy organizations sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo urging them to immediately offer free tests for COVID-19 to all homeless New Yorkers and those serving them. 

“Homeless New Yorkers are suffering devastating consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic, including a staggering loss of life. While we may be seeing the beginning of the curve flattening for NYC as a whole, that is not the case for homeless New Yorkers. Rising infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are ravaging the city’s homeless population as well as frontline staff and volunteers. Given what we already know about how readily COVID-19 spreads within shelters and other crowded settings such as drop-in centers, we need bold and immediate action to protect clients and staff alike. For the health and safety of all homeless people, staff and volunteers, and all New Yorkers, we urge Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo to immediately begin free, voluntary COVID-19 testing for this most vulnerable group of individuals and families and those who serve them,” said Shelly Nortz, Deputy Executive Director for Policy at Coalition for the Homeless.

Full text of the letter can be read here.