Social inequalities tended to increase in the context of the pandemic, particularly in relation to the measures taken to manage and reduce the risk of COVID-19. When lockdown measures required the general population « to stay home », what were homeless people expected to do ? The ECHO study is a cross-sectional, descriptive study with a convergent mixed-method design. Data were collected across shelters in France both during and immediately following the lockdown (April – June 2020). This article presents the study’s qualitative findings, with a focus on understanding both the experiences and perceptions among these populations of the measures taken to limit the COVID-19 infection. A total of 26 semi-directed individual interviews were conducted across seven shelters in both Lyon (42%) and Paris (58%). Data were analysed using thematic content analysis with partial blinded coding. Four key themes were identified : 1- Reactions to the introduction of lockdown : a sudden implementation reminiscent of prior violent or traumatic circumstances amongst participants, 2- Accommodation during lockdown : participants” conflicting visions of the shelter, 3- Influence of the media and public communication : an abundant flow of information impacting participant’s wellbeing and representations on the pandemic, and 4- The individual impact of lockdown : perceived health and limitations to daily life activities. The most vulnerable populations have borne the heaviest burden during the pandemic. It is therefore crucial that we improve both the availability of information, and the health literacy of, all groups within the national population.