Vulnerable. It’s a word we often use to describe the clients our programs target—individuals who have serious health, mental health, and substance abuse challenges; who are frequent utilizers of hospitals and emergency rooms; and who are at high risk of dying on the streets. Veterans, seniors, families, and youth also often fall into that category. But, when we’re talking about more than 650,000 homeless people in our country, what does “vulnerable” really mean?
Tag Archives: health
It sounds like the plot of a Michael Crichton novel. A deadly strain of tuberculosis infects thousands of people in a large metropolis, the vast majority of whom are homeless individuals living on the streets.
I wish this scenario was a work of fiction. Unfortunately, it’s not.
The activity in downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row reminds me of a creepy Michael Crichton sci-fi novel, where people wearing hazmat suits that make them look like Michelin men spray jets of steamed water on the sidewalks below.
But what Los Angeles is doing to its downtown sidewalks, and concurrently to its homeless population, is certainly not fiction.
In 2008, Children’s HealthWatch and partners reported on a unique study aimed at finding out whether food stamp benefits enable low-income families to buy what they need for a healthy diet. Now we’ve got a followup.
The answer now, as before is no. And though the followup was conducted only in Philadelphia, the findings are generally applicable to other urban areas, including the District of Columbia.
I work within a few office spaces away from a waiting room filled to the brim with people that are so impoverished they have resorted to living on the streets. Those of us on the front lines battling homelessness in America know that the so-called American social safety net is tattered.
An incredulous gasp is my only response when a presidential candidate, worth a quarter of a billion dollars, publicly states on national television that this country has a “very ample safety net” for poor Americans.