Father Joe’s Villages is monitoring the status of COVID-19, the disease caused by a novel coronavirus, in San Diego.
While there is no known infection among the homeless community in San Diego, Father Joe’s Villages is prepared to respond to the complex health needs of people on the streets. The homeless service provider is currently devoting its resources to collaborating with partners at the City and County of San Diego and will remain up-to-date on ongoing news related to the spread.
The following statement is from Deacon Jim Vargas, president and CEO at Father Joe’s Villages:
“Currently, there are no known cases of people experiencing homelessness in San Diego being diagnosed with COVID-19.
However, many people who are homeless experience major health and psychiatric issues and have less access to resources that help them maintain good health, which makes this population more vulnerable to serious outcomes if the virus were to spread.
Throughout this evolving situation, Father Joe’s Villages has worked in partnership with the City of San Diego, County of San Diego, Health Center Partners, other homeless service agencies and our provider partner UCSD to create and implement a recommended action plan.
Our medical staff is attending community meetings to align on best practices with the Regional Task Force on the Homeless and San Diego Housing Commission.
Our Village Health Center staff will monitor patients for symptoms of COVID-19 to provide immediate medical care and work to minimize the spread of this infection.
On a regular basis, our Village Health Center offers essential medical, dental and behavioral health care to people experiencing homelessness. We are also educating clients, volunteers, neighbors and staff on proper hand hygiene and other tactics to minimize spread.
We offer showers seven days per week through the San Diego Day Center and are working with the County to provide additional handwashing stations in the community. Our custodial staff is dedicated to keeping our campus clean and have increased attention to our cleaning processes and facility sanitization, utilizing cleaners and disinfectants that kill the COVID-19 virus.
We’ve contracted an additional custodial team member whose only job is to disinfect common areas every 30 minutes. Custodial staff is cleaning countertops, rails, handles and other surfaces at the same frequency. We have adjusted client and volunteer procedures in our dining rooms to decrease the risk of infection.
Our health professionals and front-line staff are prepared to act because we respond to the complex health needs of people on our streets in our work every day.
Father Joe’s Villages understands that during crises like these, the people who would receive the least amount of support are the populations we serve every day—the most vulnerable amongst us. Should the situation escalate, we will continue to provide essential health care, housing, meals and other basic needs to help our neighbors through this time.”
Father Joe’s Villages is currently focused on putting its resources into addressing the health crisis in our community.
Here are some helpful links related to COVID-19: