Understanding the problem of chronic homelessness
A chronically homeless person is someone who has been homeless for years. Person has developed a chronic health condition in the course of time.
Who is a chronically homeless person?
There are some facts which we should know about the chronically homeless:
- People who represent the chronically homeless population are a small percentage of the actual homeless population. But the number continues to rise every year.
- Chronically homeless are the most vulnerable of the entire homeless population. This is because they are usually suffering from life-threatening diseases or a severe mental illness. Since they have absolutely no home, the treatment is also irregular and as a result of that, their health condition continues to deteriorate.
- The chronically homeless people are usually above the age of 50. More than half of the chronically homeless population is represented by people who have a life expectancy of not more than 62.
- Chronically homeless individuals usually have a higher rate of child victimization with a higher incidence of sexual or physical abuse while they are homeless; this number is higher amongst the women.
The cost of maintaining these chronically homeless people is usually high. Since these people do not have proper homes, they rely on expensive emergency services.
There are some things we should know about the chronically homeless.
- Health care is the biggest curse these people have to go through. It is one of the major expenses that they face due to frequent and avoidable emergency room visits, inpatient hospitalizations for any kind of medical and psychiatric care or expenses for nursing homes. Costs will automatically increase as the population ages and the health condition deteriorates.
- The justice system is particularly unfair when it comes to the chronically homeless. They are the ones who face maximum incarceration. Because they lack the ability to be able to fight against the system and are often committed for crimes which are non-violent in nature and which are related to their mental health or with the realities of living on the street.
- The chronically homeless are dying premature deaths. Because they do not have access to specific treatment for their manageable health conditions. As a result of this, they are dying young and the chronically homeless are 4-9 times more likely to die young than in the general population.
- There are numerous research studies which have clearly shown that it is less expensive for someone to stay support housing rather than on the street as it saves the city almost 30,000 $ per person, every year.
This is something that has not been address the way it should and as a result of that. There is less sensitization of people towards these issues. These are things that need to be given due importance and people like these need to be recognized by the government and an action plan needs to be drawn to help these people escape the inevitable reality of their existence. Which is to die without any family and without a home.