Anyone including, adults, teenagers, and children can become homeless for many reasons. It is sad to see a person without a home. Homeless people are a part of the vulnerable populations. They are a part of the vulnerable population because they are more accessible to diseases and unhealthy living environments because they do not have shelter, food, clean water, or access to health care. This paper will explain variables related to vulnerability for this vulnerable population, including age, gender, race, income, education, and an analysis that affects multiple variables on the population selected in terms of morbidity, mortality, and health.
When it comes to homeless people, age is just a number. Anyone can become homeless at any age. In general, “based on data from a variety of sources, it appears that approximately 1 million men, women, and children may not have a place to call home on any given night, and two to three times as many are in this situation at some point during the year” (Aday, 2003). Wow, these statistics are pretty scary just knowing that number is upsetting. According to Aday (2003), “children and youth are an increasingly visible and vulnerable component of the homeless population.
An estimated 68,000 to 100,000 children are thought to be homeless at any given time. Homeless children are much more likely to experience physical, mental, emotional, educational, developmental, and behavioral problems and less likely to have obtained basic preventive health care services, such as immunizations, compared to children who are not homeless”. Homeless children do not get the necessities they need to develop appropriately. Other than children, older adults are also more vulnerable in the homeless community. Just like children, older adults have weaker immune system, which makes them more accessible to disease. Older homeless people are especially vulnerable because of their age, but for many, their vulnerability is made greater by other issues, including physical disability, sensory impairment, mental ill-health, dementia, learning disability, domestic violence, elder abuse, poor housing conditions, isolation, and premature ageing in those who have been long term homeless” (Pannell & Palmer, 2004). In reality, children and older adults are the most vulnerable in the homeless population. Also homeless children and older adults do not receive the proper nutrition to keep them healthy.
Both male and females are homeless. According to the National Coalition of the Homeless (2009) “Most studies show that single homeless adults are more likely to be male than female. In 2007, a survey by the U. S. Conference of Mayors found that of the population surveyed 35% of the homeless people who are members of households with children are male while 65% of these people are females. However, 67. 5% of the single homeless population is male, and it is this single population that makes up 76% of the homeless populations surveyed”.
Women are more than likely to become in a stressful and harmful situation when they are homeless. According to Aday (2003) “women and minorities are also particularly vulnerable groups of homeless. The prevalence of mental illness appears to be greater among homeless women, while alcohol and substance abuse are more prevalent among homeless men, as is the case in the general population. Homeless women are uniquely vulnerable to unwanted pregnancies, adverse birth outcomes, and sexual and physical assault”.
When women are out in the environment that are put in a situation where they don’t want to be in for example an unwanted pregnancy possibly due to being a victim of rape. Minorities are another vulnerable group of homeless. To start with minorities have a high risk of being in poor health. “In its 2006 survey of 25 cities, the U. S. Conference of Mayor found that the sheltered homeless population is estimated to be 42 percent African-American, 38 percent white, 20 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Native American and 2 percent Asian. The total U.
S. population, the ethnic makeup of homeless populations varies according to geographic location. For example, people experiencing homelessness in rural areas are much more likely to be white; homelessness among Native Americans and migrant workers is also largely a rural phenomenon” (National Coalition for the Homeless, 2009). Income and education is a huge variable for the homeless. With lower education and low income people are more than likely to becoming homeless. “Minorities are over- represented among homeless persons in most cities.
Adults are much less likely to have a high school education and to be employed compared to the U. S. population as a whole. Homeless persons have extremely low incomes — generally much lower than the U. S. poverty level. However, single homeless clients were less likely to have ever been or currently married and were more likely to have a high school education and to be veterans” (Aday, 2003). So education doesn’t really factor in for being homeless. Someone who was a white collared worker may become homeless because of an addiction, loss of job, or whatever else may have happened.
Being homeless has a huge impact on a person’s health. Homeless children have more health problems then children who have a home. “Environmental factors contribute to homeless children’s poor health, and homeless children are at high risk for infectious diseases. Homeless children are at greater risk for asthma and lead poisoning” (Hart-Shegos, 1999). Also with people homeless children do not get the proper nutrition that is required, which makes them more accessible to diseases, which could lead to death. People who are homeless have poorer health and higher mortality than the general population. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS varies widely among homeless subgroups, but generally exceeds that of the non-homeless population. The elevated prevalence of infection combined with limited access to treatment and poor living conditions have contributed to HIV/AIDS becoming a leading cause of death in this population” (Center for AIDS Prevention, 2005). Homelessness increases the risk for morbidly, mortality, and health problems.
In conclusion, This paper explained variables related to vulnerability for this vulnerable population, including age, gender, race, income, education, and an analysis that affects multiple variables on the population selected in terms of morbidity, mortality, and health. When it comes to the homeless population age, gender, and minorities are thrown out the window because it doesn’t matter what your age, gender, or race is when it comes to being homeless. Children and older adults are most vulnerable out of the homeless population because they are more at risk of health problems and sometimes death.
Women are more than likely to become victims of unwanted pregnancies while alcohol and substance abuse are more dominant among men. Homeless people have more health risks than people who are housed.
Aday, L. A. (2003). At risk in America: The health and health care needs of vulnerable populations in the United States. (2nd ed. ). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN: 9780787949860 Center for AIDS Prevention (2005) What are homeless persons’ HIV prevention needs? Retrieved on September 17, 2012, retrieved from: http://caps. ucsf. edu/factsheets/homeless-persons/
Hart-Shegos (1999) Homelessness and its Effects on Children. Retrieved on September 17, 2012, from: http://www. fhfund. org/_dnld/reports/SupportiveChildren. pdf National Coalition for the Homeless (2009) Who is Homeless? Gender. Retrieved September 17, 2012, from: http://www. nationalhomeless. org/factsheets/who. html Pannell, J & Palmer G. (2004) Coming of Age: Opportunities for Older Homeless People Under Supporting People. Retrieved on September 17, 2012, retrieved from: http://www. npi. org. uk/files/New%20Policy%20Institute/homelessness%20older%20people. pdf