Dr. Maralyssa Bann is a doctor on staff at Seattle’s King County public hospital.
Dr. Bann’s article makes the case for Housing First which can help chronically homeless individuals struggling with mental health and physical health issues and addiction to stabilize their lives and their health.
“The hospital serves many members of Seattle’s homeless population; on any given night, at least half of my patients stay in migrating “tent cities,” crisis shelters, empty vehicles, abandoned buildings, or directly on the streets.”
Dr. Bann tells the story of a patient with serious diabetes.
“For him, and for many homeless people with diabetes, the challenges of managing a chronic illness on the streets—finding secure storage for medications, reliably obtaining nutritious food, appropriately dosing and timing injections—can be insurmountable.”
One of the challenges that Dr. Bann points out is that,
“Many shelters require residents to vacate in the hours of the morning and line up again for reentry around dusk. She goes on to share statistics about how “homeless people die disproportionately young.”
“In the Seattle area in 2015, the average age of death for homeless individuals was 48 years old. Other major American cities report similar averages: 48 in Los Angeles, 53 in Philadelphia.”