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Homelessness in America - Essay Example

There is no one distinctive type of homeless person. Individuals who do not have stable accommodation are in both rural and urban areas, face a variety of health issues, live in different settings, need a variety of social work services, are in this position for different reasons and are of different ages. As human service professionals in different positions, we offer differing services to this diverse population at a certain point in time. Therefore, it is essential that we be equipped with the various skills and information necessary for us to deal with and understand the individual needs of this population. The Elderly Homeless According to research, there is an increase in the number of elderly individuals who experience homelessness. They however keep on being a forgotten population. This poses a lot of challenges to service providers in the homeless service sector. The elderly population is extremely susceptible to physical health issues which in turn complicate the nature of the services rendered to them. In order for them to attain housing stability and the best health care, this group needs a multidisciplinary-team approach that has little or no barriers. The elderly homeless are faced with a number of problems the major one being difficult to diagnose multiple health problems. According to Schutt and Feldman (2004), elderly homeless adults have an average of four chronic health problems. Some of the common medical conditions that came out of the study included: Hypertension, Major Psychiatric Illness, Tuberculosis, Chronic Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Alcohol Abuse, Urinary Incontinence and Peripheral Vascular Illness. Despite the fact that most of these conditions are easily treatable, the diagnosis and treatment for the homeless elderly might turn out to be hard because: they have no resources required to pay for treatment or care, or they are too afraid to seek help because they don’t know what will happen if they do or even because they have no trust for social service or health care workers. Another problem faced by the elderly homeless is victimization on the streets. Due to their limitations in mobility and health, those who survive on the streets well into their old age are prone to being at risk of being easy targets for criminals. There is a higher probability that elderly individuals living on the streets will be assaulted or robbed since they have little or no defense mechanisms. The fact that they may be unable or unwilling to get access to public assistance is also a challenge. Many homeless individuals are not aware that they are entitled to benefits like Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare. But at times even those who know about the availability of this public assistance have a difficult task getting any assistance they need due to their poor mobility and health. Others might ferociously cling on to their independence and refuse all help offers (Miller, Herzberg & Ray, 2007). These problems however do have solutions like emergency shelter, support services, transitional housing, and prevention among others. Prevention in my opinion is the best solution. For the elderly people who risk becoming homeless, the key to ensure stability in housing is finding the necessary resources to prevent eviction. In order to aid in prevention or recovery from an economic crisis, funds are given to localities and states countrywide by the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. The local ...Show more
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Title: Homelessness in America Name: Professor: Institution: Course: Date: Homelessness in America According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (2009), there were approximately 643,067 women, men and children who were homeless in the United States by the beginning of 2009…
Homelessness in America
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