"People are excluded from housing based on a system designed to do exactly the thing it is doing today. So it's incumbent on all of us to dismantle that system. And we have to start by looking at ourselves."
- Chief Behavioral Health Officer Lawanda Williams, MPH, LCSW-C
Homelessness is a policy choice.
It is the result of generations of policies that systemically deny economic mobility, health care and housing, particularly for Black and brown people.
The color of our skin has an outsized impact on our access to housing and ability to build wealth.
- The most common path to intergenerational wealth is owning a home, a goal that is out of reach for many because of racist housing and lending policies at every level of government.
- Sources: Institute for Policy Studies, Urban Institute, Baltimore City Food Environment 2018 Report
And where each of us lives significantly impacts our health.
- People experiencing homelessness report anxiety or depression at 10x the rate of the general public.
- HIV is 2x more prevalent and Hepatitis C is 4x more prevalent among clients than the general public
Homelessness means different things to different people.
Health Care for the Homeless uses the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services definition of homelessness. In short, this definition spans individuals and families who are:
- on the streets
- in shelters or transitional housing
- in abandoned buildings or vehicles
- staying with friends, neighbors or relatives
- in any other unstable or non-permanent living situation