Requirement-free COVID-19 testing benefits those experiencing homelessness

Posted at 5:06 PM, Sep 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 00:09:00-04

CINCINNATI — Maslow’s Army is offering requirement-free COVID-19 tests every Sunday until December.

At least 200 people showed up Sunday, the first day for the new free testing site. Organizers made sure nothing got in the way of people getting tested by getting rid of the normal requirements.

While some testing sites require an ID, insurance, payments, appointments or referrals, Maslow’s Army offered a test with no questions asked.

Maslow’s Army founder Sam Landis said there are often barriers that keep those experiencing homelessness from getting a COVID-19 test, and conditions of homelessness can make avoiding the virus difficult.

“They hang out at the library, but right now they can only be at the library a maximum one hour a day. So where do they go?” Landis said.

Landis said people experiencing homelessness are likely to walk around more and often are around larger groups of people without any way to keep clean.

“We as a community are only as protected as the least protected amongst us,” he said.

Douglas Davis had been homeless for about a month when he last tested negative. He said it was hard to get a test while homeless before the Maslow’s Army site.

“The place they were going to send me was too far. They didn’t have a ride for out there,” Davis said.

Today, it was nearby. With flu season around the corner, access to testing has become critical for those most vulnerable.

“It’s imperative that they don’t get the double whammy. Many of them, if they don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. So, our job out here aside from doing the testing is education,” Landis said.

From pamphlets to medical teams on site to answer questions, the goal is to save lives.

“Get tested. That’s my advice to everybody, homeless or whatever. Get tested,” Davis said.

Landis said they are set up to test as many as 300 people each Sunday.

The test site is open to everyone, no matter your housing situation, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. every Sunday until December at the Hamilton County Justice Center Plaza. Maslow’s Army said in order to host this event they are going to need help from the community. They are asking for donated items like blankets, sweaters, gloves or funds.