The Tragic Reality of Homeless People's Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of a homeless person is a heartbreaking statistic that should not be ignored. On average, homeless people in the United States have a life expectancy of 42 to 52 years, which is drastically lower than the national average. This is due to a variety of factors, including lack of access to medical care, inadequate housing, and the prevalence of substance abuse and mental health issues. No one should have to suffer through the misery of homelessness in the world's wealthiest nation.

These are our mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. They are our neighbors and friends, citizens of the United States of America. It's both a national disgrace and a wake-up call to prioritize massive housing investments at all levels of U. S.

government. The federal government's decision not to prioritize housing justice has left millions of Americans without a safe place to call home. Since the 1980s, billions of dollars in housing for low-income people have been cut, leaving local communities to fill in the gap for what was once a federal priority. The lack of access to stable housing and medical care can lead to a variety of health issues that can be fatal for homeless people. Natural causes, suicide, homicide, and hypothermia are all common causes of death among homeless people. In addition, homeless people tend to experience the type of medical conditions that are common in people 20 years older than them. The United States Preventive Services Task Force states that “major morbidities and causes of mortality among homeless people include cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases, substance abuse, and mental health problems.” These types of poor health outcomes are often related to lack of access to stable housing, nutritious food, transportation, employment, access to quality health services and treatments, and health insurance. In cities around the world, homeless people are being driven out due to policies and high costs of living.

This makes it even more important for governments to provide assistance for those in need. In Seattle, there are eight small city-authorized housing villages that support long-term shelters; however, one village is marked to close. Several cities neighboring Seattle have instituted a ban on “tents” this year, banning people from taking refuge in public places. In Nashville, Tennesseans gathered in Riverfront Park to honor the 98 homeless people who died this year. Allen, who is homeless himself, called on city officials to consider the voices of the homeless and prioritize affordable housing as Nashville continues to develop. Deaths among homeless people have increased 76% in the past five years according to a KHN analysis of coroner data.

Homeless people have about the same life expectancy as residents of the United States in 1910. This increase reflects the increase in the number of chronically homeless people and those who don't usually use shelters. The government must act now and change the law to ensure that help is available when it is needed most so that no one has to die without a safe place to call home. Drugs and alcohol play a direct role in at least a quarter of homeless deaths over the past five years according to an analysis of coroner data. Research from the University of Sheffield commissioned by Crisis estimates that homeless people die thirty years earlier than the national average due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, lung disease, diabetes, infections and other ailments. It is an appalling fact that in the 21st century the right to housing does not yet exist and that a single homeless person can turn to their advice for help and be refused shelter on the street. Paul Gregerson from JWCH Institute clinics in Los Angeles treats homeless residents and urges local governments to prioritize affordable housing as well as provide access to medical care for those living on the streets. In order for us to truly end homelessness we must listen to those who have experienced it first-hand. We must also ensure that help is available when it is needed most so that no one has to die without a safe place to call home.