People Experiencing Homelessness

Who should use this toolkit? This toolkit provides resources and information for people experiencing homelessness, homeless service providers, outreach workers, and street medicine staff.

What is this toolkit about? This toolkit describes the information, outreach strategies and resources that people experiencing homelessness may need to prevent the spread of mpox.

How should I use this toolkit? Community partners can review this toolkit to support the prevention of mpox among people experiencing homelessness. People experiencing homelessness can review the information in the section labeled For People Experiencing Homelessness.

Some factors related to homelessness may influence the risk of mpox, such as sharing sleeping spaces with other people, sharing clothing or linens, and trouble finding places to shower or wash hands, laundry facilities, and medical care. People experiencing homelessness may also need special considerations to ensure sufficient outreach and resources are available to prevent the spread of mpox.

For People Experiencing Homelessness

  • You can protect yourself from mpox by learning about how it spreads and how to lower your risk during sexual activity.
  • Review the signs and symptoms of mpox and check yourself for rashes or lesions.
  • If you think you have mpox or might have been exposed, reach out to a medical provider to discuss testing or vaccination.
  • If you have mpox, isolation helps avoid spreading it to other people. An outreach worker, shelter staff member, or medical provider may be able to help you to find a place to stay until your infection resolves. You may also need help taking care of any companion animals while you are infected. Learn more about mpox and pets.

For Organizations Serving People Experiencing Homelessness

Organizations can help prevent mpox transmission among people experiencing homelessness by providing support and resources to implement prevention strategies.

  • Organizations can work with health departments to support access to mpox testing and vaccination.
  • Homeless service staff can avoid turning away people who have exposure to or symptoms of mpox by having clear processes in place, including following considerations for congregate settings.
  • People experiencing homelessness with confirmed mpox often need accommodations for isolation. People will be able to best maintain isolation if they have access to their own phone, meal delivery, physical and behavioral health services, substance use management and support, and homeless case management.
  • Organizations can improve mpox vaccine coverage through vaccine and outreach events that are paired with other services (i.e., food assistance, mobile health clinics, legal services) at multiple time points and locations where people experiencing homelessness spend time.
  • Homeless service staff, outreach staff, medical providers, and peer ambassadors can serve as trusted communicators for people experiencing homelessness. Ensure that communications reduce stigma associated with mpox and provide facts about vaccination.
  • In the course of their usual work, homeless service providers and outreach workers are not considered to be at high risk for mpox exposure. If staff members are concerned about a possible exposure, they can review information on monitoring and risk assessment.