Homelessness And Health: Factors, Evidence, Innovations That Work, And Policy Recommendations

Cheyenne Garcia, Kelly Doran, Margot Kushel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On a single night in 2023, more than 653,000 people experienced homelessness in the United States. In this overview, we highlight structural and individual risk factors that can lead to homelessness, explore evidence on the relationship between homelessness and health, discuss programmatic and policy innovations, and provide policy recommendations. Health system efforts to address homelessness and improve the health of homeless populations have included interventions such as screening for social needs and medical respite programs. Initiatives using the Housing First approach to permanent supportive housing have a strong track record of success. Health care financing innovations using Medicaid Section 1115 waivers offer promising new approaches to improving health and housing for people experiencing homelessness. To substantially reduce homelessness and its many adverse health impacts, changes are needed to increase the supply of affordable housing for households with very low incomes. Health care providers and systems should leverage their political power to advocate for policies that scale durable, evidence-based solutions to reduce homelessness, including increased funding to expand housing choice vouchers and greater investment in the creation and preservation of affordable housing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-171
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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