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“Locked down outside”: Perception of hazard and health resources in COVID-19 epidemic context among homeless people

Abstract : While social inequality is widely recognised as being a risk factor for COVID-19 infection or serious forms of the disease, many questions still remain concerning the perception of hazard and protective measures by the most vulnerable populations. This mixed-methods study aimed (1) to describe the self-perceived health and protective measures linked to COVID-19 of homeless people in one of the largest and poorest cities in France, and (2) to assess which skills and resources they used to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The quantitative survey addressed these questions among a sample of 995 homeless people living either on the streets, in homeless shelters or in squats/slums, whereas the qualitative survey was constructed from 14 homeless interviewees. Both data collections were carried out between June and July 2020. Results showed that COVID-19 infection was clearly perceived by homeless people as a risk, but the experience of being homeless placed this risk among several others. Different practices of protection were observed according to the type of living place. Lockdown of the general population severely impacted the survival systems of the populations furthest from housing, with alarming rates of people without access to water or food. 77% of homeless participants reported that they encountered significant financial difficulties. All interviewees were particularly attentive to their health, with awareness and even a familiarity with the risks of infectious diseases long before the pandemic. Using a capability framework, our study showed a predominant lack of external health-related resources for homeless people, while internal health-related resources were more developed than expected. None of the places and lifestyles studied was favourable to health: collective shelters due to a greater restriction of people's choices, slums and street life due to a greater lack of basic resources.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-03332309
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 2, 2021 - 3:50:56 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 10:59:55 PM

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Camille Allaria, Sandrine Loubière, Emilie Mosnier, Elisa Monfardini, Pascal Auquier, et al.. “Locked down outside”: Perception of hazard and health resources in COVID-19 epidemic context among homeless people. SSM - Population Health, Elsevier, 2021, 15, pp.100829. ⟨10.1016/j.ssmph.2021.100829⟩. ⟨inserm-03332309⟩

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