Health and Housing are interdependent as it is impossible to be successful in one without the other. People cannot pay for housing without the presence of good health, and good health is unobtainable without a safe, permanent home. This correlation is evident in that homeless people are 3 to 6 times as likely to experience illnesses then those who are housed. Bankruptcy is a major cause of homelessness and half of all personal bankruptcies in the United States result from health problems.
The average age of at death of a homeless person in the United States is 48—on par with the life expectancy of Afghanistan and Nigeria, the lowest in the world. A Haitian—with a 62 year old life expectancy—can expect to live significantly longer than a homeless person in the United States. (WHO 2009)
|Utah Homeless||US Homeless|
|Total Population||16,522 (+15% over 2010)||3.5 million|
|Chronically homeless||542 (-10% over 2010)||17%|
|% of population in families||40%||37%|
The #1 cause of death among homeless people is from preventable and treatable illnesses.
Statistics are taken from the Annual Report on Poverty in Utah 2011 - www.nhchc.org
Myths and Facts About Homelessness
Information from 2012 Utah Homeless Point-In-Time Count; Utah HMIS 2012 Data
The mid-1980s brought a dramatic rise in Salt Lake City's homeless population. During this time, Salt Lake City's downtown was revitalized and most of the substandard, single-room occupancy hotels (SROs) that offered rooms for just a few dollars a night and required no leases were razed and redeveloped. In total, 800 low-income housing units were torn down, displacing 1,000 very poor residents from their homes and jobs. With no public plan to rapidly re-house or support these residents, homelessness moved from a sporadic, temporary experience to endemic and inter-generational.
To fill the service gap, nonprofits such as Fourth Street Clinic began to form. Founded by medical anthropologist Allan Ainsworth, PhD in 1988, Fourth Street Clinic began as a triage clinic staffed with one, part-time nurse who relied heavily on hospitals for patient treatments.
Today, with a staff of 50 and a volunteer network of more than 150, Fourth Street Clinic is a comprehensive health care home that serves 3,783 homeless men, women and children with 22,300 primary care, behavioral health and specialty care visits. Fourth Street Pharmacy dispenses 44,600 medications annually. By increasing homeless Utahns' access to primary care, Fourth Street Clinic is a major partner in ending homelessness, promoting community health, and achieving across-the-board health care savings.