The People Concern helps those in need
By Sofia Santana
The People Concern, a Los Angeles-based social service agency helping those experiencing domestic violence and homelessness, teamed up with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services to host a COVID-19 vaccination event for people experiencing homelessness.
With the mission to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be housed, healthy and safe, The People Concern’s priority during the pandemic is to make sure that its clients are still able to receive much-needed services.
“Our priorities have really evolved as the pandemic evolved, but it continues to align with our mission of housed, healthy, safe, and making sure we are meeting our clients where they are at and seeing what their needs are and trying our best to meet them,” said Elisabeth McConnell, program manager for the Homeless Multidisciplinary Street Team for The People Concern.
Among the new needs is providing vaccinations to people experiencing homelessness.
“A really important thing to note is that a lot of people experiencing homelessness are actually living with very serious and often untreated chronic health conditions, which makes them high risk for COVID, so providing them with access to the vaccine is a really important intervention,” McConnell explained.
The vaccination events were held at local churches in Santa Monica on March 17 and 31. The People Concern also helped support the event by spreading the word and making sure those who were interested were able to find transportation to the sites, if needed.
Thirty-one people were vaccinated at the March 17 event, while 16 people were vaccinated at the March 31 event. Follow-up events will also take place at the original event sites to provide second doses.
The People Concern hopes to continue to make vaccinations accessible to those who need it the most. Plans are underway to expand vaccination events for people experiencing homelessness, like the coordination of mobile COVID-19 vaccination sites, and have begun rolling out as recently as April 7.
“The inspiration for these events was to create a low-barrier environment for people experiencing homelessness to get the vaccine,” McConnell said. “There is an urgency to vaccinate as many people as possible, so I think these events are a way to do what we can to get ahead of that spread.”