This week we’re focusing on building confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine among your staff and the people experiencing homelessness (PEH) you serve.
Continuums of Care (CoCs) and partner organizations can help socialize the need for widespread vaccine trust and adoption by:
- Engaging in conversations, listening to questions, and validating concerns
- Beginning agency planning around vaccine distribution
- Participating in the online community by sharing social media posts and links to trustworthy resources
Next Steps for You to Take
Schedule meetings with staff and with PEH to discuss vaccinations using the following conversation tools:
Vaccine planning and distribution present unique challenges and considerations for CoC Leads, Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) recipients, and homeless service providers. As communities prepare to undertake these activities, HUD will provide guidance on critical policy issues.
Access key policy issues on the HUD.gov COVID-19 Vaccination: HUD Policy Guidance page.
This document will be updated regularly as new policy guidance is released.
As communities embark on COVID-19 vaccine campaigns, they are confronting a long history of discrimination and negative interactions with medical services experienced by PEH and racial and ethnic minority groups. These experiences can contribute to vaccine hesitancy.
To acknowledge these experiences and build vaccine confidence, some communities are considering hiring Vaccine Ambassadors to engage PEH and homeless services staff in meaningful, two-way communication about their concerns and to share accurate vaccine information.
The following is a sample Vaccine Ambassador program and job description:
State, local, and national messages about the importance of getting vaccinated will be widespread in the coming weeks. To reduce the virus spread, our communities can play a major role in the safety and well-being of their families and friends by getting vaccinated and by continuing to wear masks and maintaining social distance.
The following links provide flyers for staff and clients with ideas on how to encourage vaccine acceptance among your followers and your partner organizations:
Visit the COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Vaccine Planning and Distribution page on the HUD Exchange for a full list of vaccination resources for homeless providers.
The response to COVID-19 continues to be a marathon, not a sprint. It is important that we listen to our constituents as the weeks and months of response continue and new issues arise.
It’s also important that the personal safety and mental well-being of you and your staff take high priority during the days and weeks ahead. Check in on your workforce and client base frequently to ensure that measures to reduce physical and mental stress are available and encouraged early on.
We can’t work through this response alone. We need to reach out to and depend on each other and offer help and resources frequently and authentically.
Be safe and take care of yourself!