Throughout the past couple of decades, there has been a lot of research conducted in regards to the overall relationship between homelessness and general health. In one way, experiencing homelessness is something that can lead to all sorts of various health issues, while in another way, there are also some similar issues that can cause someone to end up becoming homeless.
Here are three of the most common health issues that homeless people generally tend to face.
Hunger is something that can often be hard to recognize as being an actual issue; however, poor nutrition is something that can lead to a number of different chronic conditions as time goes on, such as weakness and fatigue.
Oral health is something that can also be greatly affected by homelessness as well. Not having access to simple items such as a toothbrush and toothpaste is something that a lot of homeless people tend to face, and unfortunately, this can end up leading to issues such as tooth decay and other types of oral health issues.
Many homeless people can end up suffering injuries such as falls or being hit by a car, as well as injuries related to drug and/or alcohol use. Inclement weather conditions can also lead to injuries as well, especially thanks to hypothermia and frostbite in cold weather, and heatstroke and severe sunburn in hot weather.
Nearly 60,000 people are homeless in Santa Monica, California. With a number that large it can be hard to imagine how to help. Jan Shepard set out to do what she could to help by taking homeless community members out to lunch two to three times a week.
“I first became aware of homelessness when I gave up my car and started walking everywhere. The more I walked, the more I saw the city from a different perspective. I saw homeless people everywhere. It was quite an eye opener,” Shepard said.
It is easy for some people to look past homeless people on the street and continue to ignore them. For others it’s not as easy because they can relate to being invisible.
“I can see beyond people’s outer because I used to be 350 pounds. I know what it was like to feel that you’re not your body,” Shepard said.
As Jan continued to meet the members of the homeless community in Santa Monica, she learned that they weren’t so different from her.
“I learned that everybody needs connection. People are lonely. People want to be heard. People want to share and that people are loving,” Shepard said.
The more Jan learned about their lives and their situations she learned that there is a large diversity in causes for homelessness. Some people were just out of prison, many had lost their jobs and a few were schizophrenic.
The solution for homeless that Jan discovered was one-to-one caring and support for the local homeless community. What homeless people want more than anything is for people to be kind and not look down on them. To be treated like a human being.
If you want to help your local homeless community take a homeless friend to lunch OR donate to AFTS so we can!
The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition in Austin pleaded with business leaders to help get together the $30 million they determined it would cost to end homelessness in the city during the Solutions to Homelessness meeting July 31.
The amount that the coalition arrived at is needed yearly until chronic homelessness has been significantly decreased. The money would be used to create a community-wide system to carry out the action plan.
Funding for this plan has been partially secured from the following business and non-profits: St. David's Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Moody Foundation, Cielo Property Group, Housing Authority of the City of Austin, Episcopal Health Foundation, Downtown Austin Alliance, Salvation Army, Central Health, Seton and Community Care Collaborative.
Amazon offered online assistance to help manage the data related to the aid program.
Ausitn City Council signed off on the plan created by the coalition back in April. The city witnessed a five percent increase in homelessness between January of 2017 and 2018. There have been around 2000 homeless people in Austin for the past decade. The city council is hoping this plan will bring this number down in the next year.
The coalition launched a pilot program last year to learn what needed to happen to solve homelessness. Resources and beds provided through long-term housing was at the top of the list. Followed by smaller things like port-a-potties outside the Austin's Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) in downtown.
One goal is to return a police presence outside the ARCH to combat the drugs and crime that come with people abusing the homeless population. Without the police force getting back involved the private business sector will unlikely see any change in this.
By knowing what needs to happen, the coalition is hoping that businesses will continue to get involved to help end the vicious homeless cycle in Austin.