» RELATED: How to help homeless in Atlanta
Its transitional housing program, which can hold up to four women at a time for up to 120 days, includes female former federal or local inmates, substance abusers and women struggling with homelessness.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women and families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, and African-American families are disproportionately represented among the homeless population.
In addition to extreme poverty and lack of access to health care, the shortage of affordable housing “is a major precipitating factor that can render individuals homeless who are not extremely poor.”
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The National Alliance to End Homelessness has identified a community guide to address solutions for homelessness, available on its website.
“Although providers may not be an integral part of implementation of these strategies outlined by the National Alliance, they can have a powerful voice for change,” ACOG noted in a 2013 report.
Here are some steps ACOG researchers have outlined to end homelessness and improve health care for the homeless:
- Improved coordination between community programs and specific health care services. such as prenatal care, cervical cancer screening, immunizations, mental health, substance abuse, and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis
- Donations of medications from pharmaceutical companies for use in homeless clinics and shelters, being mindful of influences on prescribing behavior
- Modified residency and medical student curricula to increase awareness of health care issues of homeless individuals and promote involvement in direct care
- Indexing the minimum wage locally to the cost ofhousing
- Adequate disability benefits for those who are unable to work
- Increased funding for comprehensive programs, such as the Health Care for the Homeless program, and research directed to the prevention of homelessness
- Professional liability protection for physicians who volunteer their services to homeless individuals
More at ACOG.org.