Homelessness is among the most egregious public health failures of our society. Research and education focused on health and homelessness have been profoundly inadequate, overlooked, and underfunded in the US. Because of this, the academic community has fallen short of systematically studying and quantifying the root causes, health impacts, and potential solutions for the homelessness crisis. This leaves practitioners lacking an adequate evidence base on which to build systems, policies, and interventions to address this pressing and highly visible health equity challenge.
In recognition of the critical need to address these academic gaps, the pilot Initiative on Health and Homelessness (IHH) was founded at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan School) in October 2019 with Dr. Howard Koh as its inaugural faculty chair.
The Initiative has set out to build a community of researchers and practitioners to support and inspire fledgling public health professionals to address issues at the intersection of health and homelessness. Through this work, IHH can provide the resources to influence real-world change to improve the lives and health of the unhoused.