mental / physical health » Stable housing and supportive services are critical
About half of people experiencing homelessness suffer from mental health issues. At any given point in time, 45 percent of homeless people report having had indicators of mental health problems during the past year. About 25 percent of the homeless population has serious mental illness, including chronic depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
People experiencing homelessness also have a high rate of substance use. According a 1996 survey, 46 percent of homeless respondents reported having an alcohol use problem in the past year,
and 38 percent reported a problem with drug use in the past year. Mental and physical health problems are exacerbated by living on the streets and in shelters. Health conditions that require ongoing treatment — such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, addiction, and mental illness — are difficult to treat when people are living in shelter or on the streets. Medication can require special steps, including refrigeration or special storage, that can be difficult to execute for people experiencing homelessness. Preventative care can also be difficult for this population to access due to its often prohibitive cost, so people experiencing homelessness may wait to seek medical care until a trip to the emergency room is necessary.
These mental and physical health conditions should be considered when designing effective, efficient strategies to end homelessness. Permanent supportive housing provides stable housing coupled with supportive services as needed – a cost-effective solution to homelessness for those with the most severe health, mental health, and substance use challenges.
Directors Corner »Frederick Place Makes A Difference
When I am asked how I know we are successful I tell them there are many ways. One way is when businesses, youth groups, churches or other organizations manage a fundraiser with out us even being aware.
The other way would be when former residents “give back”. Our website was revamped and is now managed by a former res-ident, we have had residents who volunteered either in the house or at fundraising events, including purchasing raffle tickets.
Most recently I received a letter from a former resident with a check in it.
In his words:
Just thought I would let you know I’m still kicking. Medicaid is paying for my lung medicine and disability shows up every month. Except for my lungs, I’m doing OK but am very tired!! New Hope Shelter leases two small apartments in town. I’ve been renting one of them since December, until I can find something long term. They call it Transitional Housing. The money order is to replace the gas cards and co-pays you gave me. Thank you for helping me…
Norris is not the first resident to provide us with donations, we have also had a former resident drop off $200 worth of food. Residents paying it forward is truly one way I know that Frederick Place and I make a difference.
If you have read this month’s and November 2014 Faces of NATH you will know that Frederick Place makes a difference in the words of Rachel and Leah.
It continues to amaze me how grateful the current and former residents are of all that NATH, Frederick Place and the community do to help them. They are the first to ask if you need help when working on a project and will often times even ask you if you would like some of the drink or food that they have prepared.
If you haven’t had the oppor-tunity to share a meal with the residents to witness this for yourself, think about it. Think about donating some of your time and talents in the house and finding out just who you are helping with your donations. You too will have many stories to share about how Frederick Place Does
Make A Difference.
- NATH Executive Director