Living on the streets can be deadly

People in Boston who “sleep rough”—live on the streets instead of in shelters—have a death rate that is nearly three times higher than those living in shelters and nearly 10 times higher than that of the general population in Massachusetts, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The JAMA Internal Medicine study looked at data from 445 homeless adults living on the streets of Boston. Over a 10-year period, 134 of them died, mostly from cancer, heart disease, alcohol use disorder, and chronic liver disease.

Jill Roncarati, postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Chan School and lead author of the study, said in a July 30, 2018 Boston Globe article that the findings show “how much more vulnerable this group is.”

Other Harvard Chan authors of the study included E. Francis Cook, Nancy Krieger, and Glorian Sorensen.

Read the Boston Globe article: A new study tries to show just how deadly homelessness can be

Learn more

Improving health among homeless people (Harvard Chan School feature)