Homeless Health Care: What Are We Doing Wrong?

05/04/2012 10:32 am ET

Last week, Healthy Living's reporter Catherine Pearson put the magnifying glass on the complex relationship between homelessness and healthcare in the United States. She wrote:

And for countless men, women and children themselves, homelessness is an insurmountable sentence to a lifetime of poor health and inadequate care -- both of which can feed on one another in an unforgiving cycle ... Radical poverty puts enormous stress on the U.S. health care system, which often struggles to address poor patients' most basic needs. People who live in what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls "low socioeconomic circumstances" are far more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, have limited access to health care, get poorer quality of care and, not least, simply wither and die.

Through the heartwrenching story of Ron, a 64-year-old man who has been homeless on-and-off for 30 years, readers learned about housing-first initiatives, such as the pilot program HUES to Home, and got a closer look at emergency shelter programs.

Our commenters had strong reactions to the potential solutions to this problem: Are we restoring the lives of the homeless in the right way? If not, what can we do instead?

Suggest a correction