Populations at Special Health Risk: Homeless

Elsevier, International Encyclopedia of Public Health (Second Edition), 2017, Pages 556-562
Herman D.B., Manuel J.I.

Although homelessness is widespread in developing countries, it is also distressingly common in the industrialized world, where it has important implications for public health. A variety of health and mental health conditions place individuals at heightened risk of homelessness while contributing to an elevated risk of morbidity and mortality in affected individuals. Homeless persons also place a large burden on the public health delivery system, attributable to high need combined with lack of access to regular sources of routine medical care. To eradicate widespread homelessness will require a sustained commitment by governments, private organizations, and individuals using a broad variety of approaches. These include explicit recognition of a universal right to decent housing for all citizens coupled with specific targeted approaches, including supported housing and critically timed interventions, aimed toward groups seen as particularly vulnerable to homelessness and social exclusion.