Volunteers of America Delaware Valley Opens First Program in South Jersey for Homeless Individuals and Families Recuperating from COVID-19

Those who are experiencing homelessness are among our communities’ most vulnerable and highest-risk populations. This is even more true during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These individuals demonstrate higher rates of chronic health issues than the general population – in turn, putting them at much higher risk for having serious and sometimes fatal health complications if they contract COVID-19. Those experiencing homelessness also tends to reside in congregate living conditions, which is not conducive to social distancing and seriously lacks a recuperative environment that enables healthy recovery. Additionally, this population is significantly more reliant on crisis-oriented resources, such as emergency rooms.

“From the very beginning of this crisis, we knew individuals and families experiencing homelessness were especially vulnerable to contracting, spreading and experiencing serious complications resulting from COVID-19,” said Daniel L Lombardo, President/CEO of VOADV. “As an agency, we knew we had an obligation to provide a recuperative setting for these clients, so they may receive the medical care they require in a safe, protected place.”

Through a unique partnership with Camden County, VOADV developed a program to address this critical need. The program utilized an existing hotel in the South Jersey region to provide temporary, isolated housing for homeless individuals while providing managed, monitored medical care.

“For those experiencing homelessness or who are unstably housed, there is a distinct, critical need for access to basic medical services in a clean, safe environment. We wanted to ensure these individuals could receive compassionate medical care, no matter their circumstance. No person should have to sleep on the street or worry about finding shelter while their body fights this terrible virus,” explains Lombardo.

Ensuring equal access to this level of quality care provides at-risk individuals with greater care coordination and service connection. It also reduces the burden on hospital systems and the likelihood of further COVID-19 spread, allowing for proactive discharge planning and case management services in a monitored setting.

“We couldn’t have found a more willing and better partner in Camden County,” continues Lombardo. “Their willingness to serve and protect our communities’ most vulnerable populations is extraordinary. We have been able to serve dozens of individuals so far, ensuring better access to critical medical care and reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 in our shelters.”

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