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Health Care Justice

Take a stand against unnecessary death due to homelessness on National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. Click here to learn about what you can do.

Poor health is both a cause and a result of homelessness. Many people are reduced to homelessness because of poor health, which can rapidly escalate into employment problems, financial difficulties, and housing issues (over half of personal bankruptcies in the US result from health issues). Homeless persons also suffer from multiple health problems at a much higher rate than the general population with increased exposure to the elements, disease, violence, unsanitary conditions, malnutrition, stress, and addictive substances. Additionally, conditions which require regular, uninterrupted treatment, such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, are extremely difficult to treat or control among those without adequate housing.

NCH believes that everyone should have access to adequate and affordable health care. Visit the links on this page to learn more about NCH’s Health Care Justice public policy recommendations, action alerts, and research.

See our health care partner National Care for the Homeless Council for more information.


Universal Health Care:
Homeless people suffer from multiple health problems at a rate far higher than the general U.S. population, yet 55 percent have no medical insurance. Once people become homeless, they have shorter life spans than housed persons, and are three or four times more likely to die prematurely due at least in part to untreated medical problems. NCH will be working with homeless and health care advocacy partners to ensure that the Obama Health Care Plan guarantees access and eliminates all financial barriers to comprehensive health services for all Americans.

Homeless Access to Recovery and Treatment:
The Homeless Access to Recovery through Treatment (HART) Act (H.R. 4129 in the 110th Congress) strengthens substance abuse and mental health services and extends their reach to persons experiencing homelessness by improving mainstream and targeted homeless programs of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Homelessness presents serious barriers to treatment for behavioral health conditions. People experiencing homelessness present complex challenges for which most mainstream providers are ill-equipped or untrained.

National Coalition for the Homeless
2201 P Street NW
Washington, DC 20037-1033

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Page last modified: June 24, 2013

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