Committee Opinion on Health Care for Homeless Women
The Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women has published a Committee Opinion on Health Care for Homeless Women. Homelessness continues to be a growing problem in the United States. With increasing unemployment and home foreclosures, the recent recession and current economic difficulties are estimated to result in more than 1 million Americans experiencing homelessness through 2011. Women and families represent the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. Health care for these women is a challenge but an issue that needs to be addressed. Homeless women are at higher risk for injury and illness and are less likely to obtain needed health care than women who are not homeless. It is essential to undertake efforts to prevent homelessness, to expand community-based services for the homeless, and provide adequate health care for this underserved population. Health care providers can help address the needs of homeless individuals by identifying their own patients who may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, educating these patients about available resources in the community, treating their health problems, and offering preventive care.