(CBS DETROIT) – Housing insecurity is a real problem for over 60,000 people living in the state of Michigan.

In addition to being exposed to the elements, 40 percent of the homeless population has long-term physical or mental health conditions, which according to the CDC puts them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

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To tackle this issue Michigan is pushing this disadvantaged group to the front of the vaccine distribution line.

Although the state officially made the homeless population a priority group for the COVID vaccine on Monday, outreach in Detroit has been in progress since January.

“At the beginning at the early stages people were a little bit scared, so because they said, ‘why us’ and we didn’t know the results of it yet so, matter of fact like myself, I went and took the vaccine in front of them to encourage them that this is a good thing to do and we had our staff members who are providing services to them take the vaccine and the encouraged the population to start coming and taking it,” said Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries President/Ceo Chad Audi.

The Detroit Health Department is connecting with local shelters to administer COVID vaccines to guests and staff.

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Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries is one of the 29 shelters partnering with the city of Detroit.

“From the beginning a lot of measure has been put in place through the providers and the city of Detroit, so it was a partnership, which is resulted in a very low number of the homeless population to be infected,” said Audi.

More than 2,000 homeless Detroiters have been vaccinated.

For appointments and more information call 313-230-0505.

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