Founded in October 2019, The Initiative on Health and Homelessness (IHH) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recognizes that the profoundly inadequate state of public health education, research, and translational efforts regarding homelessness has hindered progress in solving health issues related to housing instability.

Homelessness is deeply entwined with broader issues of poverty, social disparities, education, welfare, and corrections, as well as obstacles to accessing integrated medical, mental health, and substance use disorder care. This challenge represents a complex and intractable social crisis in urgent need of comprehensive solutions. Yet, the state of research and teaching—particularly with respect to the public health aspects of homelessness—does not come close to meeting the urgency of the problem. Noted knowledge gaps leave national and local leaders without the evidence and strategic perspectives they need to make wise funding and policy decisions.

The central objective of IHH is to build an academic community dedicated to addressing the knowledge gaps in the area of health and homelessness through education, research, and translation.