What are the causes of homelessness?
Each night, hundreds of thousands of people are homeless in the United States. Some of these people are chronically homeless, while others have temporarily lost their shelter. The reasons why they are homelessness are complex. They can include a combination of factors such as
- Lack of affordable housing
- Mental and substance use disorders
- Trauma and violence
- Domestic violence
- Justice-system involvement
- Sudden serious illness
- Death of a partner or parent
What is the link between homelessness and health?
Poor health can contribute to homelessness. And being homeless can contribute to poor health. Many of the problems that homeless people face can make their health worse, including
- Limited access to health care
- Problems getting enough food
- Trouble staying safe
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Exposure to severe weather
What are some of the common health problems that homeless people have?
Some of the common health problems that homeless people may have include
- Lung diseases, including bronchitis, tuberculosis, and pneumonia
- Mental health problems
- Substance use problems
- Wounds and skin infections
Many homeless people are dealing with trauma. They may have been abused or assaulted. This includes homeless children, who are at risk for emotional and behavioral problems.
Contact your local homelessness assistance agency to get the help you need, such as access to shelters, health centers, and free meals.
- For Homeless Veterans (Department of Veterans Affairs)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Race/Ethnicity, Underlying Medical Conditions, Homelessness, and Hospitalization Status of Adult Patients...
- Article: COVID-19 and people experiencing homelessness: challenges and mitigation strategies.
- Article: Case 21-2020: A 66-Year-Old Homeless Man with Covid-19.
- Homeless Health Concerns -- see more articles
- Homeless youth health issues -- see more articles
- Teens Homeless with Families More Likely to Self-Harm, Consider and Attempt Suicide than Youth with Homes (American Academy of Pediatrics)