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Other Factors of Homelessness

Thousands of individuals across the U.S. struggle with homelessness due to many internal and external factors. One of these factors being mental illness. Adequate treatment is not readily available to individuals suffering from mental illnesses; primarily those with Chronic Schizophrenia which is the most common cause of homelessness.

Alongside the factors of mental illness that may lead an individual to homelessness, those with AIDS and/ or alcohol and substance dependence play a large role as well. Their inability to pay for housing and keep a stable job becomes a cause of homelessness.

The working class is vulnerable to injury and with little to no benefits from workers' compensation, bills with hospital stay and/ or treatment can become overwhelming and unmanageable. Some individuals with hundreds or thousands of dollars of medical expenses are therefore unable to pay for monthly rent. Hotels are provided with worker’s compensation but when the compensation ends, these patients are often found homeless and unable to get back on their feet.

Seniors are aging into homelessness and poverty. As individuals grow older they become more prone to different illnesses and health problems. Many elders require care from their family, friends and caregivers because they are simply at an age where they are unable to take care of themselves. Increased homelessness in geriatrics results from the lack of affordable elderly housing. Without the support of assisted living, elders are limited to homeless shelters where beds are not guaranteed leaving them with nowhere else to go.

In order to decrease the rate of the homeless population, we must first make healthcare more affordable. Allowing affordable health care will help all homeless individuals, especially elderly individuals, to properly take care of themselves. They will be able to afford all medical expenses and potentially avoid future health complications. It is also important to provide affordable housing. Without a permanent address, it is almost impossible to receive health benefits therefore, we must provide more accessible and affordable homes. Lastly, providing employment counseling will allow individuals to improve their living situations and quality of life.


How to Prevent and End Homelessness among Older Adults - Justice in Aging.

Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Health Care for Homeless People. Homelessness, Health, and Human Needs. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1988. 3, Health Problems of Homeless People. Available from:

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