Healthy London Partnership > Our work > Resources > Homeless health during COVID-19

Homeless health during COVID-19

We have been coordinating the London COVID-19 Homeless Health Response Cell, as a multi-agency approach to managing the health needs and minimising the transmission of COVID-19 within the homeless population in London. Please see a range of resources, information and further contacts below.

Case studies

  • The pan-London response: A podcast and a written case study on ‘Homeless health in London – the response to Covid-19’, covering the period March to early June 2020 have been created. For the podcast, click here and the written case study, click here. (both published June 2020)
  • North West London CCGs response to ‘Everyone In’ – read the report (published October 2020)

New Covid variant information

With a new and more infectious Covid-19 variant putting infection prevention and control into event sharper focus, on 22 December 2020, HLP ran the ‘Homeless Health Covid Variant IPC’ webinar with experts Professor Andrew Hayward and Dr Al Story. Aimed at front line workers supporting those experiencing homelessness, the session analysed the new variant and its impacts and outlined effective prevention, infection and control solutions.

Below you can find a recording of the session, the presenters’ slide pack, a written log of answers to questions we did not have time to answer on the webinar, and also news Tier-specific leaflets from Groundswell.

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Updated FAQs and Guidance (Dec 2020 – Jan 2021)

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Flu information

In London if you are homeless you qualify for free flu vaccine. GP’s and pharmacies may offer this in other areas. A range of resources and guidance is available to promote flu jabs for the homeless.

Free vaccines for London Homelessness Care and Support workers

Homelessness care and support workers, including volunteers, providing care and support in London this year can get the free flu vaccination from either your local pharmacy or your own GP. Find out how to get your Flu vaccine for free.

Groundswell Flu vaccination guidance resources

‘Lockdown 2’ guidance for people experiencing homelessness (England only)

NHS England advice and information on getting the flu jab

Public Health England campaign materials that can be adapted for on-site use. Empty belly posters can be adapted to promote vaccination programs.

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General guidance

NHS England and Improvement COVID-19 Clinical homeless sector plan: triage – assess – cohort – care

NHS England and Improvement COVID-19 Homeless Health staffing approaches and Homeless Health oversight implementation

NHS England Mental Health and Primary Care guidance

Latest Public Health England guidance.

Doctors of the World COVID-19 latest NHS guidelines translated into 60 languages

Groundswell have developed resources to support people experiencing homelessness during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Local Authority rough sleeper accommodation guidance

Crisis COVID-19 transition planning toolkit

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Guidance for commissioners

Covid-19:  guidance for commissioners and providers of hostel services for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping

Ideal staffing and equipment specifications for COVID facilities

Site operational commissioning checklist for COVID CARE facility

Site operational commissioning checklist for COVID PROTECT facility

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Moving on from hotels

HDAS London information and support guides for drug and alcohol support (also translated in Romanian, Polish and Punjabi) and smoking cessation (also translated in Romanian, Polish and Punjabi)

Groundswell leaflets for registering with a GP and GP preventative care:

Registering with a GP during COVID-19 and translated in Arabic, Bulgarian, Persian, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian

GP Preventative Care and translated in Arabic, Bulgarian, Persian, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian

An information leaflet on Safer Sex and Contraception

Information about the NHS App to help clients check symptoms, book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and view their summary care record.

London NHS commitments to former rough sleepers being resettled in London.

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Information for hotels

COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings

Hotel Frequently Asked Questions and guidance on adapting facilities and procedures during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Department of Health & Social Care signed Control of Patient Information (COPI) notice

Communication processes for COVID Hotels and Hostels

Health model for care in COVID-PROTECT sites

COVID symptoms notice for hotels. To be edited with local details, printed out and put under everyone’s door when they come in

Homeless Hotel poster (this can also be used in hostels)

Useful contacts poster for hotel site staff

FAQs on PPE and cleaning for GLA-funded COVID-19 response hotels

Homeless Health COVID-19 waste disposal pathway

Managing Covid hotels interview: Sam Dorney Smith, Senior Nursing Fellow at Pathway, has shared her valuable insight to meeting this challenge with us. Watch the video to learn about the process of setting them up, the challenges and guidance for other sites (YouTube).

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Information for hostels

COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings

Mini CHRISP Plus guidance tool – Quickly identify those at increased risk to COVID-19 who need to be shielded in appropriate accommodation

COVID-19 Risk Assessment – Screening tool to support non clinical outreach workers

Updated Government guidance – Covid-19: provision of night shelters (13/10/20

Covid-19:  guidance for commissioners and providers of hostel services for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping

Hostel Frequently Asked Questions and guidance on adapting facilities and procedures during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Department of Health & Social Care signed Control of Patient Information (COPI) notice

Communication processes for COVID Hotels and Hostels

Quick PPE reference guide for those working in hostels

Webinar – ‘Supporting homeless hostels in responding to COVID-19’ (29 April 2020, presenters from UCL/Pathway, PHE, GLA, Look Ahead) – watch again here and find the full slide pack here. 

Health needs assessment multi-disciplinary team guidance, based on CHRISP assessments.

CHRISP and Health Needs Assessments: Follow on work.

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Referrals for testing

If you have a resident showing COVID-19 symptoms, please refer to the Find and Treat Team

From Monday 20th July 2020 – if any residents have symptoms of COVID-19, please contact the Find and Treat Team by email:

Please complete this referral form available here

For further information about what action hostels should take if they have a symptomatic case please see the frequently asked questions

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Referrals to hotels and hostels


If you are referring from an Outreach Team please contact the COVID CARE team directly. All outreach referrals to CARE need to take place only with the agreement that if the client tests negative the referring team maintains responsibility.

If you are referring from a residential setting for the homeless, please call COVID CARE on 07895751370 or email Once the referral has been accepted, please complete the transfer form for people accepted into COVID CARE from hotel or hostel

Guidance for non-clinical settings referring into COVID CARE


For people who develop symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 and are unable to effectively self-isolate in their current accommodation or because they are sleeping rough.

Referral process to COVID Isolation beds

COVID Isolation referral form. Referrals will be processed daily between 8am and 7pm

Hospital discharge

Hospital discharge guidance

CHORUS Referral form

Management of Homeless Patients on discharge from hospital; hospital discharge to COVID CARE pathway, COVID CARE process map from hostels and hotels and COVID CARE referral form for hospital discharge

Management of Homeless patients on discharge from the emergency department process and pathway

Information on Duty to Refer 

Please refer any homeless clients who attends a site directly to StreetLink London or contact your local Homeless Outreach team.

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Information for primary and community care

Primary Care Standards COVID-19 Homeless Health

Webinar series: Homeless health, primary care and Covid

In June 2020, this HLP series featured experts with lived experience and specialist GPs:

Recommended PPE for primary, outpatient and community care by setting, NHS and independent sector. Need to wear face and eye protection to see symptomatic patients (would include visors) and surgical masks when seeing asymptomatic ‘extremely vulnerable’ patients (COVID PROTECT).

Guidance for putting on and removal of PPE

NHS England and Improvement compendium of links to training resources: Covid-19 infection prevention and control recommendations for healthcare settings

British Medical Journal visual summary for COVID-19 remote consultations. A quick guide to assessing patients by video or voice calls

Hierarchy of Vulnerabilities and risk factors for COVID-19 for ARC

Barnet CCG Primary Care Guide during COVID-19 flowchart

NHS England National Early Warning Scores (NEWS)

Community testing for suspected COVID-19

Primary Care and Community Respiratory Resource pack for use during COVID-19

Pragmatic guidance from the Primary Care Respiratory Society (PCRS), for the routine and crisis management of patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) during the COVID-19 epidemic. Nebulisers should, where possible, be avoided for acute attacks due to the increased risk of disseminating COVID-19 (to other patients AND to physicians, nurses and other personnel)

COVID-19 Homeless urgent dental pathway

Process for getting primary care advice template for hotels

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Drug and alcohol guidance

PHE and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) COVID-19 guidance for commissioners and providers of services for people who use drugs or alcohol

PHE operational advice for alcohol, drugs and nicotine in emergency accommodation for people experiencing rough sleeping

Launch of Homeless Hotels Drug and Alcohol Support Service (HDAS London) and additional resources; smoking and COVID-19 guide for residents and smoking cessation product user guides for residents including JUUL e-cigarette, Vype ePen, nicotine mouth spray and pouch and Voke nicotine inhalator

HDAS London – Drug and Alcohol service update 14 December 2020

HDAS London – updated opening hours and service update (September 2020) – specialist support for hotel staff 9am-5pm Mon-Fri – click for details

HDAS London workbooks on Cannabis, Cocaine and Crack, Alcohol (Polish translation), Heroin, Spice and 2 activity packs (activity pack 1 and activity pack 2)

HDAS London link to training video for tobacco harm reduction and e-cigarettes

Protocol for the management of alcohol withdrawal in temporary homeless hotels during COVID-19

Protocol for the management of nicotine withdrawal in temporary homeless hotels during COVID-19

Protocol for the management of opioid dependance in temporary homeless hotels during COVID-19

Harm reduction strategies for alcohol dependence

Additional resources and poster on substance misuse (article on supervised consumption during COVID-19 and information on naloxone including when and how to administer Prenoxad Injection)

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Mental health guidance

If staff and clients are unsure where to get crisis guidance from, they are advised to call 111 and ask for the local mental health crisis line

Monitoring mental health clients one pager

Safety Plan form for clients with suicidal ideation

Self-harm alternative coping strategies

Getting Help in a Mental Health Crisis (Westminster example)

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Palliative and End of life care

A collated list of National, Regional and North West London local good practice resources for community practitioners to use to support anticipatory care planning and palliative care during COVID-19 crisis

Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home

Planning for your future care – a guide

Practical palliative care

Pandemic palliative care: beyond ventilators and saving lives

Homelessness and palliative care

Google drive link to guidance related to COVID19, homelessness and palliative care (open access)

NHS London guidance on symptom control using non-oral non-parental routes of medication administration during COVID-19

Symptom control guidance for the last days of life during the COVID-19 pandemic (summary)

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Guide for hostels provides some guidance on adapting facilities and procedures during the coronavirus (COVID-19)

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For more information contact the team at