Supporting the Health of People Experiencing Homelessness During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on homeless populations who already face disproportionate rates of underlying chronic conditions, stigma and marginalization that often disenfranchise them from health and social services, and social conditions that lead to heightened risk of community transmission and adverse outcomes. Our community-academic partnership with homeless service organizations in Lafayette, Indiana is examining and addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on people experiencing homelessness (PEH). We are designing and piloting CHW-led COVID-19 impact mitigation strategies for PEH, including tailored health communication, resource navigation, and COVID-19 rapid testing in a homeless shelter.

An extension of this work, led by Dr. Yumary Ruiz, is working with homeless families to understand their stressors and coping strategies during the pandemic.

An interdisciplinary collaboration with Dr. Andrea DeMaria, Dr. Risa Cromer, and Dr. Yumary Ruiz is examining menstrual health needs among PEH.

  1. Rodriguez, N. M., Martinez, R. G., Ziolkowski, R., Tolliver, C., Young, H., & Ruiz, Y. (2022). “COVID knocked me straight into the dirt”: Perspectives from people experiencing homelessness on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. BMC Public Health, 22(1).
  2. Rodriguez, N. M., Cromer, R., Martinez, R. G., & Ruiz, Y. (2022). Impact of COVID-19 on people experiencing homelessness: A call for critical accountability. American Journal of Public Health, 112(6).
  3. Rodriguez, N. M., Lahey, A. M., MacNeill, J. J., Martinez, R. G., Teo, N. E., & Ruiz, Y. (2021). Homelessness during COVID-19: Challenges, responses, and lessons learned from homeless service providers in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. BMC Public Health, 21(1), 1657.


Purdue Public Health study focuses on COVID-19’s effect on area homeless 


  • Purdue College of Health and Human Sciences COVID Rapid Response Grant
  • Indiana CTSI Community Health Partnerships Trailblazer Award
  • Kinley Trust
  • United Way of Greater Lafayette
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics- Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program

Other Research Projects

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