The need for expanded screening and a protocol for how to triage people based on the screening is expressed well in this article from San Francisco. The approach being proposed is to use GPS-enabled custom surveying tools for frontline staff to gather key data from people living on the streets and in shelters along with a regional commend center to provide centralized oversight.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS SURVEY
The Health and Wellness survey, found here, was designed based on our experience supporting the recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017. The COVID-19 pandemic requires different data to be collected than what was gathered after Hurricane Harvey. The questions within the Health and Wellness assessment were largely informed by both the Interim Guidance for People Experiencing Homelessness from the CDC, the COVID-19 HMIS Setup and Data Sharing Practices from HUD, as well as the COVID-19 Client Triage Tool from Atlanta, GA. The initial drafts of the survey were shared on social media and with clients, and feedback was gathered using this Google form.
THE ENCAMPMENT SCREENING SURVEY
The intent of this screening tool, which is based of this this survey instrument created in King County is to ensure that educational materials are shared, sanitation supplies are provided, and that there is proper distancing between sleeping structures.
DEMO THE APP
To demo the Counting Us app and these COVID-19 response surveys simply download the app from either Google Play or the App Store, register an account, and enter in the setup key of “StayHealthy”.
THE REGIONAL COMMAND CENTER
The command center is accessed by a select group of personnel responsible for monitoring the real-time flow of incoming survey data and following up as needed. Command center staff can “work the list” to triage people into available housing and shelter resources by following established triage protocols. Viable placement options might include existing shelter beds, sheltering in place, quarantine units, isolation units, as well as hospital and other medical facilities.
Simtech Solutions supports an active client roster of over 50 regions throughout the US with the majority of these regions choosing to use the Counting Us app to support their annual Point in Time homeless counts. The tech is industry-proven and the virtues of it are explained in detail within articles from HUD, USICH, CityLab, and GCN. HUD also licensed the Point in Time Counting Tool from Simtech which provided critical peer review of the entire technical infrastructure. Details of how the app was used to help triage over 2,000 evacuees from the flooding after Hurricane Harvey are detailed within this NHDSC presentation.