Homelessness is a complex issue that affects individuals and families across the United States. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over 582,000 individuals across the country were experiencing homelessness on a single night in 2022¹. Homelessness is associated with a higher prevalence of mental and substance use disorders when compared to stably housed individuals¹.
Economic stability is a prominent risk factor for homelessness. The lack of affordable or stable housing is a significant challenge for many families. According to Healthy People 2030, 35 percent of renter households are cost-burdened in the United States, meaning that families spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs and utilities¹⁴. Unemployment and underemployment disproportionately impact individuals experiencing homelessness, making it challenging to find and maintain employment¹. Without affordable housing and stable employment, families face adversity and expend a significant portion of their income on shelter without having enough funds for necessities, such as food, transportation, and healthcare¹.
Social Determinants of Health
The social determinants of health serve as a key factor in addressing and developing comprehensive solutions to prevent and end homelessness. SAMHSA’s 2023-2026 Strategic Plan recognizes the importance of social determinants of health as a lever to achieve its goal of promoting whole-person care, advancing policies and programs, and improving health outcomes to meet the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness¹.
Strategies to address social determinants of health include providing affordable housing, increasing access to healthcare, and improving economic opportunities¹³. In Atlantic City, the opioid epidemic has been a significant contributor to homelessness. The Hope Exists Foundation has implemented several initiatives to help address the issue, the Hope One Mobile Outreach, the AC PROJECT, Homeless Veterans Outreach in Partnership with Atlanticare and Rowan - Virtual Medical¹. The program provides outreach services to individuals experiencing homelessness and connects them with resources such as housing, healthcare, and addiction treatment¹.
Addressing social determinants of health among individuals experiencing homelessness and addiction in Atlantic City is a complex problem that requires a comprehensive solution. By recognizing the importance of social determinants of health, we can develop effective policies and programs that promote whole-person care, advance economic stability, and improve health outcomes for individuals experiencing homelessness and addiction in Atlantic City.
Source: Conversation with Bing, 1/15/2024
(1) Addressing Social Determinants of Health Among Individuals Experiencing .... https://www.samhsa.gov/blog/addressing-social-determinants-health-among-individuals-experiencing-homelessness.
(2) Addressing Social Determinants of Health Among Individuals Experiencing .... https://reducinghomelessness.com/addressing-social-determinants-of-health-among-individuals-experiencing-homelessness/.
(3) Fact Sheets - National Health Care for the Homeless Council. https://nhchc.org/understanding-homelessness/fact-sheets/.
(4) Addressing Social Determinants of Health: Examples of Successful ... - ASPE. https://aspe.hhs.gov/reports/sdoh-evidence-review.