Addressing the wide-ranging health challenges of homelessness

November 3, 2022 – Homelessness leads to a wide range of health challenges and should be tackled through multiple angles, according to Howard Koh, Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Daily struggles for safe shelter and a warm meal overshadow health needs, leaving common illnesses and injuries to fester,” he said in a lecture hosted by St. Michael’s Foundation in Canada, as reported in an October 24 article in the Medium. People experiencing homelessness have an increased risk of HIV/AIDS, lung and liver diseases, and mental health and substance use disorders, he said.

One effort to address homelessness was recently launched by the Whittier Street Health Center in Boston, according to an October 21 article in the Boston University student newspaper, the Daily Free Press. The center offers food, water, bathrooms, and other daily necessities; primary care and disease testing; and connections to housing and legal services.

“Getting people housing is necessary but far from sufficient,” Koh said in the Daily Free Press article. “It’s going to involve so many sectors of society who work closely together. So that is the challenge, but also the opportunity here.”

Read the Daily Free Press article: New engagement day center opens in Roxbury for unhoused people

Read the Medium article: Harvard Professor Raises Awareness on Homelessness