Huffpost Healthy Living

Homeless Health Care: What Are We Doing Wrong?

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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?


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Who makes the better argument?

“Social Security replaced the poor house but never quite catches up to the current economic times so people can live out of poverty. We have a mayor that passed legislation forcing people eligible for shelters to prove they don't have relatives to stay with before accepting them into the city's shelters. They even offered relatives a bed and some money to house the homeless relative. Sigh.”
“The homeless first need their basic human needs filled ie. food, clothing and shelter before any sort of healing can begin in their lives! Big business along with government could invest in rehabilitating empty buildings for PERMANENT homeless shelters (rooms) for the poor to call their own. And once on their feet they could pay a small fee to help offset costs! Left-over food from grocery stores, farms, warehouses and restaurants could be collected and used to feed the poor, providing jobs to the homeless to help themselves. And healthcare professionals can work and donate their time at free health clinics using the homeless as their receptionists and assistants. I guess it could be called "people recycling!"

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