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Homelessness

Blog Posts tagged "Homelessness"

I’d like to take a minute to highlight the great work of the California Homeless Youth Project. For the last several years, they have worked on assessing the needs of California’s homeless population, a notoriously difficult task to accomplish. Their 2013 report, Hidden in Plain Sight: An Assessment of Youth Inclusion in Point-in-Time Counts of California’s Unsheltered Homeless Population, remains an essential resource for anyone working on reducing the impact of homelessness in our state.

This month, the organization released another terrific report highlighting how homelessness interacts with the criminal justice system. Adding Insult to Injury: The Criminalization of Homelessness and Its Effects on Youth looks at how unaccompanied homeless youth face additional burdens due to laws that criminalize their status. For example, homeless youth are often penalized for sleeping in public places. Entering the criminal justice system at a young age can serve as a severe barrier as these youth look to lift themselves out of homelessness. A criminal record can impact their ability to find housing, secure employment, pursue education, and access some safety net resources.

The report, which is the result of interviews with and testimonials from homeless youth across the state, points out that homeless youth lack the resources needed to avoid further violating some “quality of life” laws.

This post originally appeared on the John Snow, Inc., blog, The Pump.

At JSI, we’ve been closely observing the shifting health care landscape and identifying promising practices and frameworks for achieving the Triple Aim (reduced per capita cost, improved experience of care, and improved population health) and whole-person care. One of the most interesting dialogues underway is how to better understand and respond to social determinants of health (SDOH). The evidence keeps growing indicating that factors outside the clinic walls such as educational opportunity and community environments play a more significant role in determining health outcomes than factors such as access to care and genetics. This has led many to contend that zip code says more about health prospects than genetic code.

From a health system perspective, there is recognition that many of the highest cost patients would be better served, and cost less, if social and clinical needs were addressed in concert. From a clinician’s perspective, there is a hunger for new approaches and tools to address circumstances outside the clinic walls that are causing and exacerbating chronic illnesses. A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded survey found that the vast majority of physicians not only see social needs as just as important to address as medical conditions but wish they could write prescriptions to address those needs.