Primary Health Issues Amongst The Homeless Community


Between the homeless community and health problems, there is a two-way street correlation that feeds off each other; health issues may cause impoverishment and homelessness, and health issues may result from impoverishment and homelessness. Although homeless people face the risk of the same health complications as non-homeless people, they face a more challenging recovery and increased difficulty mentally coping with their health condition. The following health issues are among the most prevalent.

  • Malnutrition And Hunger

Within Canada, food insecurity was prevalent throughout any given year in 1 out of 8 households, as indicated by PROOF research. Correcting the issue may benefit from eating healthier foods minimizing poor eating habits, and gradually, various chronic ailments may see improvement.

  • Poor Oral Health

Oral health often deteriorates as a result of long-term homelessness. Several mouth conditions, such as tooth decay, gingivitis, and mouth ulcers, are common due to inadequate accessibility to proper dental care and neglected hygiene. In 2020-2021, a little over one-fifth, or 23 percent, of homeless individuals, had a dental visit, and there was suspicion of a neglected dental condition in three-fourths of these individuals, or 75 percent.

  • Accidental Injury And Increased Death Rate

Compared to non-homeless people, there is a greater rate of injuries for homeless individuals. There is a 2.5-4 times greater prevalence of severe brain injuries amongst the homeless population than the general population. Moreover, further complications can occur when a brain injury is present. Regarding reported injuries, those related to accidental mishaps (such as sprains and strains) and injuries related to physical violence.

  • Foot And Skin Ailments

Because of prolonged exposure to the elements and needing more functional attire (worn-down shoes and socks) to handle different terrains (hot asphalt, dirt roads, etc.), many homeless people experience skin and foot problems. This includes chronic joint/muscular pain, infections, practical limitations, etc.) Surprisingly, foot ailments were reported in as many as two-thirds of participants in one study. Common foot conditions may include hammertoes, nail pathologies, gout, bunions, frostbite, plantar warts, and foot ulcers.

Regarding skin conditions, 16.6% to 53.5% exist for homeless people, as discovered by an additional study. Common skin ailments include seborrheic dermatitis, lichen simplex chronicus, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and acne.

Homelessness Statistics

  • Hate crimes and assaults are an ongoing risk for the homeless population; in 2019, there were fourteen fatalities due to assaults on homeless individuals, with non-lethal assaults making up another twenty-two cases.
  • In 2022, homeless families with children comprised over 25 percent of the homeless population.
  • Insufficient shelter is experienced by 1.6 billion individuals worldwide.
  • Adults at least 25 make up over three-quarters or 75% of the homeless population.
  • Throughout the United States in 2022, emergency shelters provided 329,675 beds for people experiencing homelessness.