It is estimated that 2.3-3.5 million Americans experience homelessness each year. (Baggett, 2010)
Chronic Homelessness is defined as living in a place that’s not meant for human habituation for at least one year. (guest speaker, Robertson)
In a study, the prevalence and predictors of past-year unmet needs for five types of health care services were analyzed in a national sample of homeless adults. In 2003, 966 adults were studied, representing more than 436,000 individuals nationally. 73% of the respondents reports at least one unmet health issue, including lack of access to medical or surgical care, prescription medicines, mental health care, eyeglasses, and dental care. (Baggett, 2010)
The stigma of being homeless is as pervasive as it has been for years:
“They (the homeless) either aren’t willing to assume the responsibilities that go with being a citizen or the are mentally ill or abusing drugs or alcohol.” -Rush Limbaugh (1992)
Homelessness generally doesn’t strike overnight. There are many contributing factors such as mental illness, socio-economic status a person was born into, interpersonal violence, drug addiction, and severe physical health and the accompanying hospital bills. (John Vassello, in class)
Baggett, T., O’Connell, J., Singer, D., & Rigotti, N. (2010). The Unmet Health Care Needs of Homeless Adults: A National Study. American Journal of Public Health, 1326.
guest speaker: Kelly Robertson LMSW Deputy Director
Boes, M., & van Wormer, K. (1997). Social Work with Homeless Women in Emergency Rooms: A Strengths-Feminist Perspective. Affilia, 12(4), 409.