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“How Does Having Stable Housing Affect the Health Outcomes of Homeless People?”

Author: Adrian Oyetero

Department: UIC Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement

Advisor: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, IPCE

Abstract: Within the United States, over 560,000 people experience chronic homelessness. As people go through these conditions, they commonly experience higher rates of poor mental health, substance abuse, Tuberculosis (TB), inaccessibility to health services and far more. Historically, people that face housing instability are let down by policies that do not account for the needs of homeless individuals. The beginnings of Housing Assistance came from a need to help white Americans while regularly segregating minority families from favorable housing conditions. This has then led to a series of policies that fail to account for racial disparities. This literature review will justify that housing instability leads to worsened health outcomes, especially in areas where the historical racial division existed. The findings from this review show that those that are struggling with home ownership are more likely to have worse health outcomes. Furthermore, the study recommends implementing more detailed Housing First policies. To respond to the current health crisis amongst the homeless population, policies must prioritize their accessibility to health services.

Keywords: Housing, Homelessness, Health Policy, Housing Policy, Health Outcomes