One of the most extreme public health crises we face today is that of homelessness.
In Sacramento alone, “homelessness has increased by an estimated 19% since 2017.”
Those experiencing homelessness during the covid-19 pandemic face more barriers to accessing basic hygiene and sanitation facilities.
Homeless families and individuals sleeping outdoors are risking exposure to more deadly infections by following social distancing guidelines.
In the U.S., families with children make up approximately one-third of those experiencing homelessness.
A disproportionate share of this population, however, lives in California, including 12 percent of the nationwide total.
Roughly 44% of families with children were sleeping in outdoor locations including under a highway underpass, on the street, in a park or an outdoor encampment.
One third (33%) reported sleeping in a vehicle such as a car, RV or truck.
Those who are homeless also run the risk of developing mental illness, nutritional deficiencies and being exposed to the dangers of physical and sexual assault.
Older adults (age 55 and over) make up 1-out-of-5 of the individuals experiencing homelessness on the night of the 2019 Count in Sacramento.
Homelessness does not only affect families, children and the elderly but also veterans and disabled individuals are suffering too.
In this article, we will address the different types of homelessness and how to help.
Types of Homelessness
According to a Point-In-Time Homeless Count done in 2019, Sacramento had the highest rent increases in the state.
Women and children who experience domestic violence with limited economic resources, are at an increased risk to homelessness.
Survivors are often coping with significant trauma caused by their abuse experiences, including managing stress while working to heal and protect themselves.
These traumatic experiences can have a major impact on survivors such as women; Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC); LGBTQ people; and others in high-risk communities.
One of the main concerns of the unsheltered homeless population of Sacramento is finding the best ways to address the lack of affordable housing.
Another issue stems from the disproportionate number of Black and American Indian/Alaska Native people who are experiencing homelessness.
Approximately “10,000 to 11,000 individuals experience homelessness annually.”
Episodic Homelessness refers to individuals, who have experienced at least three or more episodes of homelessness within the past year.
These episodes involve periods of time when a person is staying in a shelter or place unfit for human habitation.
Oftentimes people with disabling conditions suffer from episodic homelessness.
Transitional Homelessness also known as hidden homelessness involves people who are currently staying with friends or other relatives because they do not have access to other housing opportunities.
This is a more common type of homelessness that is more prevalent in youth.
These people are generally lacking secure support and typically enter shelters on a more temporary basis.
Chronic Homelessness is based on the length of time one is homelessness and present disabling conditions.
Typically people who suffer from chronic homelessness have experienced homelessness for at least a year — or repeatedly — while struggling with a disabling condition such as a serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or physical disability.
The majority of homeless veterans in the county are unsheltered (69%), consistent with the state average of 66%.
People who face this type of homelessness with personal struggles – mental and physical health issues, addictions, legal and justice issues, discrimination – tend to be much more severe.
HOPEFUL Inc.’s Helping Hands Program is working to combat homelessness in Sacramento, CA.
To learn more and donate to the cause you can visit: https://www.hopefulinc.org/donate