Study by Culhane et al: Estimated Quarantine Capacity Need for the US Homeless Population Related to COVID-19

April 6, 2020


  • Dennis Culhane, Dan Treglia & Ken Steif /University of Pennsylvania
  • Randall Kuhn/University of California Los Angeles
  • Thomas Byrne/Boston University

DATE PRODUCED: Last updated March 27, 2020

TYPE: Report


  • What will the potential impact of COVID-19 be on the homeless population and the homeless and healthcare systems caring for them?
  • How many people experiencing homelessness may require hospitalization from COVID-19 infection?
  • How many quarantine beds may be needed for people experiencing homelessness who contract the coronavirus?
  • What is the potential cost of the emergency shelter and quarantine units that may be required by people experiencing homelessness who are exposed to the coronavirus?

SHORT DESCRIPTION: This report estimates the potential hospitalization, ICU use and mortality rates associated with COVID-19 infection among the homeless population in the United States, as well as unmet need for emergency and observational/quarantine beds/units. The analysis suggests that 400,000 new beds are needed to meet the emergency accommodation and social distancing needs of the single adult homeless population on a given day, and that the total estimated cost to meet the nation’s emergency shelter and observational/quarantine units need is approximately $11.5 billion for one year.

Cost Calculator

COVID-19 Cost Estimator

We’ve developed a tool based on this research, in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, that will generate a rough estimate of the 1) quarantine and isolation units and 2) permanent housing placements your community needs as it responds to COVID-19, and what it will cost.