Tag Archives: Public Health

Mind-Numbingly Stupid Rules

This brings back memories… — T.J.

Scott Andrew Hutchins

It’s bad enough that the shelters have a 10 PM curfew (or even earlier, if you’re bad behaved or unlucky), which is nonsensically vicious to give to a grown adult simply for being poor, but at Project Renewal, if you’re in bed at 10 PM but haven’t signed the bed roster when they bring it up, instead of letting you sign it on the spot, they send you downstairs to wait until it’s brought down. One staff member let people sign when he was up there, but he apparently got a lecture about it. The rule makes utterly no sense. On Monday night, I was so sick that I came back to the shelter a little after 7 and went to lie down. My intent was to get some rest, but get up and buy some dinner before the 10 PM curfew (bed signing begins at 8, and once you…

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Illness in the Homeless Population

When I Googled Homeless and Illness… I get mental illness, but there are lots of diseases that homeless people suffer from. To confine the thought process to mental illness ranges from ridiculous to insulting. The worst thing about being sick and on the street (or even in a shelter) is that it is damn hard to get well again. I have seen so many homeless people tossed out from ER rooms on to the street… and even people with serious illnesses and cancer having to struggle in a shelter where some of the residents are mean to them. Is there a place that the homeless who are recently discharged from the hospital get to stay for a few days or weeks until they recover? Shouldn’t there be?

Check out this report:

http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/health.html

Excerpt:  “more health care services designed to serve the homeless are clearly needed, since HCH programs do not meet the needs of the majority of homeless Americans.  In addition, lack of affordable housing complicates efforts to provide health care to homeless persons.  Housing is the first form of treatment for homeless people with medical problems, protecting against illness and making it possible for those who remain ill to recover.”


On basic injustice

Great read. — T.J.

Hopeworks Community

Many years ago thousands of people lived in the most horrifying of conditions in state hospitals throughout this country.  Many, many people literally lost their lives to a system that justified oppression as being “for their own good.”  Our response to this horror was 30 years ago to start the process of de-institutionalization.  We were going to provide community based treatment and set people free to get a chance at the life they deserved.  But we forgot about the treatment, we set very few really free and gave a whole generation of people a life that we would have never chosen for ourselves.

We discarded a whole population of people.  We left them to live in the alleys and streets, to fill our jails, and to die with lives wasted and hopes never really given a chance.  Simply they cost too much.  And when they fell through the cracks, indeed…

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The three main Mental Illnesses in the Homeless population

I would add Borderline Personality Disorder to the list. It’s not really a mental illness though. — T.J.

Homelessness and Mental Illness

The three most common mental illnesses in the homeless population are depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia Depression is a mood disorder that interferes with a person’s daily life where a person can feel sadness, anger, loss, or frustration for weeks or longer . Depression can be caused by big situations in life like losing a job, losing a family member, and other events that can cause severe emotional distress. Bipolar disorder is characterized repeated emotions of mania and depression. This can range from weeks to months and effects energy and thought process. This disorder is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it hard for a person to tell reality from imaginations, to have normal emotional response, or to act normally in society. People with Schizophrenia also have trouble sleeping, and feeling emotion. This disorder is caused by chemicals in the brain…

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Health and Homelessness

This is a story about a doctor who is doing a lot for the homeless in Boston (the story is in an interesting paper too… Street Roots on Word Press):

http://news.streetroots.org/2010/03/23/health-and-homelessness-front-lines-wdr-jim-oconnell

A study in Britain states that homelessness shortens a persons lifespan by 30 years:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/behindtheheadlines/news/2011-12-21-homeless-people-die-30-years-yonger-than-average/

Of course, this statistic depends greatly on the lifestyle of the homeless person, access to medical care and other resources. One study that I am looking for actually compares homelessness to cancer and states that being homeless shortens the lifespan the same way cancer does. So, I can surmise that individuals and agencies that look the other way and do not assist the homeless when they are trying to leave the streets are like doctors who ignore signs of cancer in a patient. The outcome is the same.


Homelessness = Swollen Legs and Feet

Many homeless people have swollen legs and feet. Sitting or standing for long periods of time and not being able to lay down may be the cause, although other underlying health issues may also be responsible. This article from eHow gives some good information:

How to Reduce Swollen Legs & Feet | eHow.com

via How to Reduce Swollen Legs & Feet | eHow.com.

I’ve noticed that some homeless people who never lay down have the worst cases of swollen legs. Sometimes they are afraid of being harassed by security guards or the cops, or they may be unable to lay down on the ground because it’s too painful. But, it really pays to find a place where 2 to 3 hours of resting flat is possible, and trying to eat a diet low in salt and chemical additives; reducing smoking and alcohol consumption will also help. Swelling of the legs might seem like a minor problem, but it can lead to infections, cellulitis, and amputation or worse.

The related article below is a neat idea: Turn abandoned unused space into pop-up accommodations for the homeless. This would give people a place to lay down and rest out of the weather.


Surviving the Streets.

Come be a Part of Surviving the Streets!

posted by Jenn Pearson                                         on Thursday, October 27 at 1:28pm

Surviving the Streets is a giveaway event aimed at serving those who sleep outside with gear that they need to survive the winter. Three years ago, the husband and wife team of Patti Dunn and Mike Grabham partnered with Real Change to make the event even bigger and gain a greater reach in the homeless community. At a time of ever-decreasing funding for homeless services from both the city and the county, personal donations are needed now more than ever. That’s why we are partnering with over a dozen businesses, community groups, and schools to hold survival gear drives for Surviving the Streets. Last year we served 175 participants from the Real Change, Bread of Life, and Compass Center communities—this year, we aim to serve 250. In addition, we hope to expand the event by offering hot food and flu shots (provided by Public Health nurses) to participants.

Please consider donating any of the following items in new or gently used condition for this event: Sleeping bags Mens’ jackets Mens’ socks Mens’ fleece jacket liners Warm blankets Backpacks Duffle bags Tarps Ponchos Gloves Hats

Check out www.survivethestreets.org to find out where the nearest donation drop-off is. Donation collection will run until November 20, 2011.

All volunteer positions for Surviving the Streets are full at this time. Please call or email Jenn Pearson, Volunteer Coordinator, if you would like to volunteer to hold a gear collection drive in your business, church, or school. Jenn can be contacted at 206-441-3247 ext. 212 or volunteer@realchangenews.org.

Read the original article:  http://realchangenews.org/index.php/site/archives-blog/6005