On average a homeless person’s life is 36% shorter than a housed person’s life.
The leading causes of death for homeless people are preventable and treatable. Regrettably, well documented barriers block homeless persons’ access to health care.
Also, the study reported this startling fact: "[T]he average age of death was 48.1 years, falling far short of the 77.2 year life expectancy of the average American." In the policy-recommendation section, we are told, "The leading causes [of] death reported here are preventable and treatable. Regrettably, well documented barriers – chiefly lack of health insurance or ability to pay – continue to block homeless persons’ access to care."
Policy recommendations of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, resulting from the study, are these:
- Increase access to Primary and Preventive Care
- Support overdose prevention programs
- Promote recovery
- Improved discharge planning
- Regional priority to end and prevent homelessness through creating permanent housing
- Increase economic stability [of homeless people]
At Sacramento county's Primary Care Services website they recently posted this year's poster for the holiday. Near the bottom of the poster, there is a lit candle. At the top it says "Homeless Persons' Memorial Day." Strewn throughout the poster are these statements:
- Homeless people die from illnesses that affect everyone, frequently without health care.
- Homeless people die from exposure, unprotected from the heat and cold.
- Homeless people die from violence, often in unprovoked hate crimes.
- Health care is a human right.
- Housing is a human right.
- Remember our neighbors and friends who have died without homes.
- Physical safety is a human right.
- Remember why they died.
- DECEMBER 21 The first day of winter. The longest night of the year.