Amy Holmes

Document Type


Publication Date



COVID-19 took the world by storm in late 2019. Governments acted to ensure that their populations were as protected as possible through stay-at-home orders and the closure of stores, restaurants, and public spaces around the world. Stay-at-home orders work well when citizens have somewhere to stay, but those experiencing homelessness face the almost insurmountable challenge of staying safe and healthy without access to a safe place to stay. COVID-19 has spread rapidly through the homeless population, and as such poses a risk to the population as a whole as the world begins to reopen. Without access to adequate sanitation supplies and a place to stay if they are sick, the homeless population poses potential risks of community spread. Analyzing the housing capacity of homeless services in Los Angeles County in conjunction with COVID-19 case counts allows for an in-depth look at the demand for temporary housing, and its apparent lack of availability in L.A. County. This paper argues that under a welfare state theory and under a philosophical approach, the government has an ethical responsibility to provide temporary housing for those experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to protect not only that subset of the population, but the population as a whole.