Photo: Circle the CityA Circle the City Medical Respite Center patient interacts with a therapy dog. The center is a 50-bed facility serving ill and injured adults experiencing homelessness.
PHOENIX – Lack of housing is a significant health issue in the United States that is shortening the life expectancy of the nation’s growing homeless population.
“If you don’t have a house you’re at much greater risk of dying sooner,” said Stacey Millet, director of Health Impact Project during the Housing, Homelessness and Health session on April 13 at Health Journalism 2018. Continue reading
Like many journalists in Washington, D.C., Arthur Allen knows his jargon.
As the editor for Politico’s eHealth, Allen is all too familiar with the trappings of Congress and the resulting litany of regulations and rules that follow any major health-related legislation, including a 2009 bill that aimed to encourage doctors and hospitals to invest in information technology. Continue reading
The deadliest outbreak of hepatitis A in the country flaring in southern California stems from a confluence of factors, from a lack of affordable housing and accessible health care to a shortage of public restrooms. But could other cities across the country face a similar crisis?
In Washington, D.C., outdoor retailer REI recently launched a new flagship store in the eastern part of the nation’s capital. But just outside the store, in a gentrifying neighborhood about one mile north of the U.S. Capitol, a tent city has sprung up “along the underpasses squeezed between some of the newest money in town,” according to local columnist Petula Dvorak. Continue reading
Photo: Courtesy of the San Diego Union TribuneTent “cities” have swelled in southern California, creating crowded and unsanitary conditions.
Along the southern California coastline, surging development has triggered a housing boom that has also come at a heavy price for health.
Numerous outlets have been tracking what U.S. health officials say is the deadliest outbreak of hepatitis A in the country, according to The Washington Post. State officials have declared an emergency, and officials are scrambling to contain the spread of infection in one of the country’s most densely populated areas.
Homeless people in their 50s have more geriatric conditions than those who are decades older but have a roof over their heads, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Because of prolonged exposure to stress, those living in poverty often experience premature aging, also known as weathering. Weathering can dramatically impact those without stable housing, causing individuals to prematurely age by 10 to 20 years beyond their chronological age. In addition to premature aging, the stress of homelessness affects morbidity and mortality. Continue reading
“For many patients, a prescription for housing or food is the most powerful one that a physician could write, with health effects far exceeding those of most medications.”
– from Housing as Health Care — New York’s Boundary-Crossing Experiment
Image by nouspique via flickr.
Housing First is a health care strategy based on the idea that secure, affordable housing is a necessary first step to care effectively for homeless people with chronic mental health and substance abuse problems. There is some evidence that this approach may, in some circumstances, even save taxpayers money (but probably not as much as is often claimed).
In a much-cited 2009 study in Seattle, researchers analyzed medical and law enforcement costs for 91 people given supportive housing and found that costs dropped to about half the level seen among 35 comparable homeless people on a waiting list.
Cities from coast to coast are ramping up efforts to provide housing as a health care solution. Reporters who keep an eye on this trend won’t be lacking for stories to pursue. There’s a lot of money at stake, for one thing. And, despite all the potential for helping people, it’s questionable whether all these projects will really save money, especially if they house more than just the heaviest repeat users of emergency rooms and jail cells. Other aspects of the Housing First model are bound to stir controversy (more on this below). Continue reading