Disparities Among Homelessness

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Disparities Among Homeless Individuals There are many groups and individuals that face disparities daily in the United States. Many of these individuals are at a disadvantage simply based on the age, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status or any other factor that the mainstream society may deem as such. The homeless population represents a unique, vulnerable and marginalized population, especially in terms of health and health care (Oldman, 2014). Research around the topic suggests a need for health care provider to decrease this disparity by using cultural sensitivity and competency in relation to homeless individuals. In order to do this it is important to understand the homeless population in terms of its unique population and causes for…show more content…
Although many of these are factors that contribute to homelessness, it is typically not a lifestyle that is chosen and often happens unexpectedly through a number of different routes (Keauffling, 2014). Reasons can include relationship breakdown, alcohol or drug issues, mental health problems, education, domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse, intergenerational poverty, and financial problems; however, it is not limited to those reasons nor will they always cause homelessness (Zlotnick, 2013). Another unique situation individuals face that impacts their health status if the lack of resources to perform self-care or have access to facilities and information in order to improve their health. Although a person may wish to seek help for a medical condition, they may not have to resources to travel or know where to go in order to obtain services. Due to this, it shall later be discussed that the health care approach should be individual based and adapted to fit the nature of homelessness. Looking at homeless individuals one of the most important aspects is that there not being one route into homelessness, every individual has their own story and way in which they came into their situation (Oldman,…show more content…
The first was the deinstitutionalization of state mental hospitals in the 1980s. With this policy change, state mental hospitals were shut down and the residents were put on the streets, into hospitals, or into jails. This changed the dynamic of the homeless population and failed to provide services and medication for the mentally ill population. There has not been another policy put into place that has helped address a way to help mentally ill individuals receive services they need or provide a safe place of them to reside (Zlotnick, 2013). This policy change drastically altered the homeless demographic and made the population even more unique and diverse. Another impact on health care is income; the average American income decreased during the recession over the past couple of years creating a further negative impact on health. Many individuals lacked a job, health care, and a disposable income to pay for care (Woolf, 2011). Income has a large impact on the health of an individual; failure to address many of these issues will continue the cycle, by creating programs that are tailored to fit the homeless population and their needs, health care providers may be able to improve the health of the population as well as decrease the disparity they

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