The week of November 11th is National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. Those experiencing temporary or long-term homelessness face many barriers to disaster preparedness and emergency response. Many people experiencing homelessness do not receive emergency notifications or do not have the means to respond to an emergency notification.¹ As a part of city disaster preparedness, it is important to have a trusted person regularly communicate with those experiencing homelessness and create emergency plans based on individual needs.¹ Create an evacuation plan with accessible transportation, shelters, and appropriate funding.¹
People experiencing homelessness have experienced greater rates of violence and abuse, including hate crimes.² Thus, it is extremely important for anyone working with people experiencing homelessness to be trauma informed. Shelters should also provide physical, mental, and behavioral health services. When rebuilding post-disaster, there is an opportunity to better meet community needs. Creating affordable housing, expanding shelters, and providing transitional housing are great ways to support those experiencing homelessness.¹
When reaching out to those experiencing homelessness to provide emergency planning information, paper handouts are often not durable enough to be helpful and online based resources are not consistently accessible. Small, waterproof handouts with emergency information are a viable option for spreading information to homeless populations.³
How will you support those experiencing homelessness this week?