Timely action and critical reflection in the areas of poverty, racial/ethnic health inequities, and homelessness are necessary. With more than 500,000 individuals experiencing homelessness in the United States at any given time and approximately 1.4 million individuals relying on emergency shelters over the course of the year, homelessness continues to be a significant problem in the United States (US). Recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and social uprisings against racial injustices compel public health to better understand the vulnerabilities of our neighbors experiencing homelessness. While homelessness in the US is a complex issue intersecting the fields of health care, public health, and policy, this course will lead students through a concise introduction. We will examine pathways to homelessness, disproportionately affected communities, and unique healthcare needs including COVID-19. The history of Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) programs and examples of model programs will be discussed. Strategies for incorporating trauma-informed care into practice will be identified. There will be a specific focus on the fundamentals of research in homelessness and health, including innovative directions and ethical considerations. Individuals with lived experience of homelessness, clinicians, and practitioners will share their perspectives. Active learning and solution-oriented approaches to challenging and persistent issues for homeless persons will be used.
Initiative on Health and Homelessness