As the economy changes, so does the availability of services, goods and money for many every individual. For those individuals who are already struggling with some type of issue such as a decrease in hours worked, wage, disability, domestic violence etc. these changes affect them in a much more severe context. For those who become or are homeless, health care may not be the first thing to take care of on their daily tasks list. Other things like eating, finding safe shelter and not getting arrested are of the most importance.
However as many contract health related diseases such as tuberculosis, diabetes, scabies, influenza, etc. health care becomes of concern and a necessity in order to maintain a way of life. Health promotion among the homeless community is not only important but needed. Health promotion can be effective with the appropriate intervention methods, professional staff and the continuous availability of services and goods offered to the community. The National Coalition for the Homeless (2009) noted that the Census Bureau calculated that 45. million Americans did not have health insurance in 2007 and out of this 45. 7 million uninsured individuals, 8. 1 million children in the United States were without health insurance. Homelessness and lack of health care are positively related and having no health insurance at all can itself alone cause homelessness. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless (2009), half of all personal bankruptcies in the United States in 2008 were due to health related problems.
The most important fact to remember when promotion health to this community is that they have little to no money, experience embarrassment, nervousness and/or may become offended and may not appear as if they need help but may or may not be mentally ill. These three things are not only considered barriers to the community when trying to receive health care but they are also barriers to the medical professionals who are not properly educated on how to show discretion and privacy for each homeless individual. Other relevant barriers include the lack of knowledge about where to get treated, lack of transportation and health care costs.
To overcome these barriers, medical health professionals must be adequately educated on this community and any new developments within this community as well. Also affordable transportation and public assistance must be indiscriminately made available to this population. One of the biggest ways to break these barriers is to create and increase public health funding for this population. There is one federally funded program, Health Care for the Homeless, which provides health care for homeless persons. These services include but are not limited to substance abuse services, emergency care and public housing assistance.
Also providing dental and mental health care in most areas, this federally funded program creates a standard by which other programs created should be based off of and also provides a foundation to for other programs needed to assist this growing population. Poor health in the homeless community has an effect on society. Homelessness impacts the community in the following ways: economically, politically, legally and physically. As the number of unhealthy homeless individuals increase, the cost of maintaining and operating health facilities and service programs that cater to this population increases.
Taxpayers fund these programs and services with the help of private donations. When the homeless do not seek out these federally funded or privately funded services and programs, they seek another method of obtaining money and/or services by panhandling or stealing, this creates a legal problem. Also for those individuals who do not go to a shelter or place to eat, they must find food and typically they do this through garbage cans and recyclable places. This action creates health issues which causes this epidemic to continue.
As there are those businesses that may deny the homeless individual to bathe or clean themselves properly, he/she may go days without proper hygiene care causing another more health problems such as scabies or other bodily infections. In conclusion, homeless individuals have the human and legal right to access public information and health services provided to every other human being. It is the writer’s opinion that a portion of the tax payer’s dollar should be spent to provide health insurance and health care to those that are homeless to a certain extent.
The writer believes that each homeless individual should receive an annual checkup that includes mental, dental and physical services. For those taxpayers who make above a certain income range should be required to pay more of a percentage of services needed after the initial appointment. The writer believes that homeless individuals deserve the same amount of care as those who are not homeless deserve. Health issues in the homeless community are ones that can be solved with constant interventions and involvement at the community level.