As of 1/2021

COVID-19 and Public Charge

  • On March 13th, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that testing, preventive screening (vaccine potential), and treatment for COVID-19 will not negatively affect any immigrant during a future public charge analysis. This means USCIS has policies in place to enable immigrant families to receive holistic COVID-19 care without it impacting inadmissibility determination.
  • Access USCIS’s official statement on undocumented individuals seeking COVID-19 care here and’s public charge FAQ page here.
  • Immigrant Eligibility for Public Programs During COVID-19 (last updated 4/6/2020)

Access to Healthcare

  • Based on USCIS’s statement, undocumented families, even those who desire applying for documentation in the future, can and should seek testing and treatment for COVID-19, as doing so is public charge exempt and bears some legal protection.
  • You can seek treatment for COVID-19 and other conditions without medical insurance through the ACA, which allows certain healthcare settings to serve the uninsured. Examples are emergency room visits, community and migrant health centers, free clinics, and public hospitals. Find a free/low-cost community health center in the D.C. region here.
    • Additionally, those with D.C. addresses who do not qualify for Medicaid may be eligible for alternate D.C.-based health insurance programs:
      • Healthcare Alliance for those 21 and older (information on services and eligibility here)
      • Immigrant Children’s Program for those under 21 years of age (information on services and eligibility here)
  • Pregnant women, regardless of documentation status, are eligible to receive COVID-19 care in some states, D.C. being one of them.
  • Important reminders
    • Your doctor is required to maintain patient confidentiality which means you don’t need to share information about immigration status with them unless you apply for Medicaid or other health coverage.
    • You can enter hospitals and other healthcare settings safely without fearing ICE intervention in these areas. Federal guidelines prohibit immigration agents from conducting law enforcement actions at healthcare facilities.
    • If you feel your rights or the rights of someone else have been violated, please consider filing an immigration enforcement civil rights complaint here.

Nonprofit and Mutual Aid Resources

Additional Resources

As of 12/2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19): What Trans People Need to Know: Read Here

  • Support Groups and other Events: DMV Trans Care | doh
    • May 2020 events listed; Call (202) 442-5955 before event to determine if event has been canceled or social distancing modifications have been made. 
    • The following is a resource for trans individuals who are experiencing homelessness. It has been compiled by the Trans Inclusion Shelter Project (TISP)
  • The Tribe Wellness Community
    • Free, online peer support groups offering members facing mental health challenges and/or difficult family dynamics a safe place to connect. Support groups include Addiction, Anxiety, Depression, HIV/AIDS, LGBT, Marriage/Family, OCD and Teens.
  • The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has published an issue regarding the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 disease facing trans populations and the larger LGBTQ community. Read more here.
  • Queer and Trans Asian folks can sign up for NQAPIA newsletter, mindful meditation and COVID-19 support groups, and virtual community: sign up here.
  • Transgender Law Center
    • Weekly community video calls every Thursday for information on how trans people can support each other and advocate at a local, state, and federal level for the care, resources, and support they deserve, especially during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
    • Weekly calls on the Facebook page.
  • Funders for LGBT is committed to providing information and resources to assist the unique needs of the LGBTQ communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of 1/2021

General Information

For People with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

For the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Community


Government Services

Local Nonprofit and Mutual Aid Efforts

For Providers and Public Health Professionals

Additional Resources

As of 10/2020

General updates

  • On March 14th, the first US correctional staff member tested positive for COVID-19, and on March 16th, the first COVID-19 diagnosis of an incarcerated person occurred 
  • Some jurisdictions are working to release people from jails and prisons in hopes of minimizing the spread of COVID-19. For updated local law enforcement policy changes, visit the Prison Policy Initiative.
  • The District of Columbia Department of Corrections (DOC) is providing each resident with a daily free, unmonitored, and unrecorded 30-minute phone call with their lawyer. See details here. This is available for both DOC’s Central Detention Facility and Correctional Treatment Facility.
    • Attorneys must submit their contact information to DOC case management.

For friends and family of incarcerated persons

  • Per NAMI COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide
    • “Incarcerated people have Constitutional protections under the Eighth Amendment, including the right to medical care/attention as needed to treat both short-term conditions and long-term illnesses. The medical care provided must be “adequate.” Communication with jail/prison administration is key and should start early by those who are incarcerated and/or their families. If an incarcerated loved one is not receiving quality care, families and caregivers can help: 
      • Contact the medical staff at the facility if you can
      • If a family member is allowed to bring medication to the jail (dependent on jail policy), bring the individual’s current medications and all relevant records to the facility. Be sure the medication is in the original packaging with dispensing instructions
      • If your loved one is being denied treatment:  
        • File a formal complaint directly with the facility in question.  
        • Contact the state’s Department of Corrections office if the issue remains unresolved.  
        • Contact your state’s Governor
        • Contact your state’s affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
        • Find Legal Help –  search function where you can locate the legal referral service for your area.”
  • For up-to-date visitation policies on a state-by-state basis, visit The Marshall Project
    • Some facilities are allowing for longer phone or video calls in replacement of in-person visits.
    • The Marshall Project recommends making sure your loved one has enough money to be able to contact you.
  • Support for families and friends of incarcerated persons

For medical providers, public health professionals, and other administrators

As of 08/2021

People in shelters who have tested positive for COVID-19

See more updated information here.

Recent News

  • Winter Plan released by the district, lays out protocols for hypothermia alerts, cold emergency alerts, and other procedures for keeping individuals experiencing homelessness safe during the winter months 
  • Mayor Bowser Activated District’s Hypothermia Alert (November 1st, 2020)
    • Hypothermia Outreach Hours extended until 9pm on non-alert nights, 11pm on alert nights. Families seeking shelter can call the Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093, or 311 at any time.
    • Shelters open 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m during Alerts:
      • Men
        • Banneker Recreation Center at 2500 Georgia Avenue, NW
          (9:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.) 
        • Kennedy Recreation Center at 1401 7th Street NW
          (9:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.) 
        • Salvation Army (Co-Ed) at 3335 Sherman Avenue NW 
      • Women
        • New Covenant Baptist at 1301 W Street, SE 
        • Sherwood Recreation Center at 640 10th St, NE
          (9:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.)
        • Community of Christ at 3526 Massachusetts Ave, NW             
    • Transportation available only upon request by calling the Shelter Hotline (202) 399-7093 or 311 (clients seeking shelter are prioritized).
    • DC residents are highly encouraged to save the Shelter Hotline in their mobile devices. Other resources available to residents experiencing homelessness are:
  • 9/30/2020: COVID-19 Situational Update
  • 09/24/2020: ICH launched a program to assist individuals at low-barrier shelters in securing Economic Impact Payments (aka stimulus checks) during the month of September. The deadline has passed for non-tax filers, including those experiencing homelessness, to collect their stimulus payments if they have not done so already. Non-filers with eligible children under the age of 17 must have filed before 9/30/2020 to receive their own check as well as an extra $500 per child. Non-filers without eligible children must have filed before 10/15/2020. More information is included here.
    • You may still be eligible to receive Economic Impact Payments in 2021 if you did not register online, did not register by mail and didn’t receive a payment in 2020, or your payment was not for the full amount for which you were eligible. More information can be found here.
  • Franklin Park to close for construction on July 1st, displacing homeless individuals who rely on the park for shelter
  • 06/19/2020: Mayor’s Order to commence Phase 2 reopening
    • Client guidance on Phase 2 reopening found here
  • Street Sense Media has a news channel dedicated to COVID-19 and how it is currently affecting those with housing insecurity in the District – found here. Their website is also a good resource for many other important issues.
    • Find the latest digital copy of Street Sense here and archives of past issues here.
  • The Department of Human Services (DHS) maintains a storyboard detailing how they have supported individuals experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.

For patients

    • Find a flu shot provider here 
  • Shelter hotline for both individuals and families experiencing homelessness: call 202-299-7093 OR dial 311
  • DHS modified operations during COVID-19
  • DC Service Provider Operating Statuses
  • Apply for DC Medicaid at local Income Maintenance Center. Call (202) 727-5355 to locate.
  • Healthcare facilities offering care specifically to DC residents experiencing homelessness:
    • Unity Health Care offers medical and dental care at 11 locations around the city
      • Clinic locations and hours found here
      • NOTE: Unity requests that patients call ahead prior to making an appointment or visiting a clinic if possible → please call (202) 469-4699
      • Federal City location (425 2nd Street NW) is currently the only location accepting walk-in patients
    • Department of Behavioral Health continues to offer behavioral health services to individuals experiencing homelessness and psychiatric disorders, which can be found here
      • To access services, call (202) 673-9124 or call the 24-hour helpline at 1-888-793-4357
  • Locations of low barrier emergency shelters  
  • Current Open Day Centers/Meal Sites (updated 12/23/2020)
  • Real-time food resource map 
  • Handwashing station locations (Map here)
  • Mobile toilet locations (Map here)
  • The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless remains open to phone requests for assistance
    • If you need legal assistance, please contact the main line at 202-328-5500, to arrange a phone intake.
  • DowntownDC BID Weekend Community Services Program began on July 11th
    • Services offered on the 800 block of Vermont Avenue NW (between H and I streets NW) on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-4pm.
  • SNAP, TANF, and cash assistance updates of 10/1/2020:
    • Interviews are waived
    • Recertifications are required – complete the application online, on the mobile application, or at a DHS service center (lowest wait times are on Wednesdays and Thursdays):
      • 1207 Taylor St. NW
      • 645 H St. NE
      • 4049 South Capitol St. SW
    • More information on FAQ page here and “Public Benefits Updates” section here.
  • Medical assistance (Medicaid, DC Healthcare Alliance, Immigrant Children’s Program) updates as of 10/1/2020:
    • Interviews and recertifications have been waived for current beneficiaries of these programs.
    • For new applicants: apply at local Income Maintenance Center. Call (202) 727-5355 to locate.
  • Tenant resources and eviction prevention
    • Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA) hotline: (202)719-6560
    • Tenants Rights and Resources
    • DC residents can request appointments and apply for Emergency Rental Assistance (ERAP) through an online application
      • For more information on ERAP and ERAP appointments, visit the DHS ERAP page here
  • For patients living in or near Baltimore, Maryland: Healthcare for the Homeless is a clinic offering medical, psychiatric, and housing services to individuals and families facing homelessness. They also provide support groups as well as services for helping secure identification and public benefits. More information can be found here.

For providers

  • CDC Interim Guidance for Homeless Service Providers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (updated 11/3/2020)
  • Referral to sites run by DHS, in partnership with local hotels:
    • Isolation and Quarantine (ISAQ) sites: remote, non-congregate isolation and quarantine sites for individuals who cannot quarantine in a private residential space. Those in quarantine include individuals who have tested positive, are pending test results, or had close contact with someone who tested positive.
        • Shelter/outreach teams or hospital/clinic staff should call the DHS COVID-19 Hotline at 202-671-3076 to transport clients to an ISAQ site if he/she has 2 or more of these symptoms: fever, shortness of breath, persistent cough.
        • Once arriving at an ISAQ site, the client will be tested and allowed to stay until safe to return to the shelter.
      • FAQ about ISAQ sites here.
    • Pandemic Emergency Program for Highly Vulnerable Individuals (PEP-V) sites: serve individuals residing in DC shelters or unsheltered individuals with the greatest risk of complications should they contract COVID-19.
      • Eligibility criteria as of August 2020:
        •  ≥55 years of age
        • Persons of any age with severe/uncontrolled chronic health conditions (lung disease, asthma, heart conditions, immunocompromised, diabetes, liver disease, chronic kidney disease, obesity, sickle cell disease, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, neurological disease)
      • Services and amenities include: onsite medical support 2-5 days per week (via Unity Healthcare), three meals per day delivered to the room, onsite social work staff, housing navigation services, support groups, connections to behavioral health services, transportation for medical appointments and other essential trips, and “cantina” menu for purchase of snacks, soda, cigarettes, etc.
      • Persons staying at PEP-V sites will share a room with another person, unless they have medical conditions or other factors that would make sharing a room difficult.
      • Persons residing at PEP-V sites must sign a client agreement that requires adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols both within the facility and when leaving the premises.
        • PEP-V referral form
        • Ensure you have filled out as much information as possible prior to submitting the form
        • Please allow up to 48 hours for the client to be medically reviewed by Unity Healthcare and before DHS will confirm and reach out to schedule transportation.
        • For questions, email Christian Howard (
      • As of 10/3/2020:
        • DHS and Unity Healthcare continue to accept and assess new referrals, and will continue to prioritize persons most at risk of significant complications from COVID-19.
        • DHS has opened their third PEP-V site at Fairfield Inn and Suites (115 rooms) and have begun placing clients here.
  • More information on current screening and testing protocol for congregate shelters and outreach here.
  • Continue ordering supplies through the normal procurement process for as long as possible. When unable to obtain supplies, complete the DHS COVID-19 Resource Request Form
  • Modified process for case managers to assist folks in obtaining DC ID can be found here

Infection Control Resources

Additional COVID-19 Resources

As of 12/2020

During this time period when we are recommending people to stay in their homes, we recognize that those who suffer from domestic violence may find themselves at increased risk of harm than before. We’ve provided the following updates and information to provide you with the tools you may need to protect yourself and your loved ones. Please note that many abusers monitor their victim’s internet and cell-phone activity. Remember to view all domestic violence or help related pages on a safe device, such as a public library computer or friend’s smartphone.

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