Isolated, deprived of access to free rest and cultural places, sanitary conditions deteriorated due to hygiene equipment closed, contaminated in accommodation centers where distances are difficult to respect… The health crisis has particularly impacted the homeless people. To measure this impact, the AP-HM in partnership with Médecins du Monde and the ASSAb coordination (Access to rights and care for homeless people in Marseilles) funded by the ARS and carried by the European hospital, have launched in early June 2020 the COVIDep Homeless project. This research and innovation programme aims to analyze the consequences of COVID-19 on this population, already sanitary and socially vulnerable before the crisis, and to improve support strategies.

2,000 homeless people (living in the street, in emergency accommodation or in precarious housing, squats and slums) are being followed during 3 months. A systematic testing strategy by rapid serological test (TROD) and/or rapid virological testing using the mobile Point of Care makes possible to assess the number and dynamics of infected cases in these populations. Morbi-mortality, prevalence of COVID-19, medico-social record, implementation of protection measures… COVIDep Homeless studies qualitative and quantitative data collected from all front-line actors concerned by the homelessness issue in Marseilles.

Along with this statistical approach, a qualitative analysis process is carried out by sociologists to assess the psychological and social impact on the teams of partner structures and vulnerable populations during the crisis and post-crisis periods.

The dual objective of this study is to measure the impact of the epidemic on homeless people and to enable public authorities to better adapt their support strategies for the most deprived people and improve their health.

Within this project, Prospective & Cooperation has notably enabled the rapid recruitment of more than fifteen investigators and mediators to support the work of the 18 partner structures of COVIDep-Homeless. This mobile team travels as close as possible to precarious people throughout Marseilles, following a “going towards” approach. The mediators have also provided access to places and communities which were hitherto deprived of their right to health.

(Photo Sophie Gisclard COVID homeless)




This project also resulted in a digital exhibition on the 10th, 11th and 12th December 2020 as part of the Jeu de L’Oie festival, a social science and arts festival.


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