Friday, May 01, 2009

Flu Outbreak and Homelessness

Homeless Providers Call for Prevention Efforts to Avoid Swine Flu Spread In Local Homeless Shelters

How do you stay away from those with the flu if you live in a homeless shelter with 40 to 400 other people? The worst fear of all the homeless social service providers in the community is that the latest flu outbreak will materialize in a congregate living facility. The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, Care Alliance, and Volunteers of America are asking for donations of hand sanitizer, blankets, bottled water, and tissues to be distributed to the homeless shelters and unsheltered homeless persons to help us prevent the spread of the new strain of flu.

Our efforts will be to collect and distribute these items to all of the shelters in Cuyahoga County. This will help minimize swine flu (2009 H1N1 flu) outbreaks in Northeast Ohio. Often, homeless people do not have access to even the simplest means to prevent them from getting sick. Shelters and homeless programs in many cases cannot afford these items in the quantity needed to contain the spread of this virus.

Swine flu is spread through the air when infected people cough or sneeze. People who are homeless are at higher risk because they come together in large groups for meals and live in group quarters. Many times these facilities are not adequate places to wash hands and it is not always possible for them to “stay at home when they are sick.”

Medication is available to treat swine flu, but it must be taken within 48 hours of symptom onset to be effective. The symptoms include fever, muscle aches, cough, sore throat, headache, and diarrhea or vomiting (or both). Since many homeless people do not have access to timely physician treatment, prevention is vital.

We are urging people to donate hand sanitizers, tissues, water, and blankets to the Volunteers of America Shelter on Walton Ave. (2710 Walton Ave) in the Clark Fulton neighborhood. The Homeless Coalition and Care Alliance will work to distribute these items to all of the shelters locally. We need 750 to 1,000 boxes of tissue and hand sanitizer to distribute to all of the shelters over the next month.

For more information, contact Brian Davis of NEOCH at 216/432-0540. To contact Care Alliance (Cleveland’s Health Care for the Homeless) call Donna Kelly at 216/924-0275. To contact the Volunteers of America call Martin Williams at 216/621-0120

For More Information call:

Brian Davis at NEOCH, 216/432-0540

Donna Kelly at Care Alliance 216/781-6228

Martin Williams at Volunteers of America 216/621-0120

Brian Davis
Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

1 comment:

CynDe said...

FYI - Personal size hand sanitizers can be purchased in packages of three at Dollar Tree for $1.

I have purchased items for use in personal hygiene kits whenever I have an extra $5 to $10 I can spare out of my monthly check totaling 33 personal hand sanitizers at a cost of $11.00. I will try to have someone take them to the post office and get them to you.

Otherwise, I will send money for purchase.