Mega Shelters and Camping Bans Don’t Solve a Root Cause of Homelessness: Housing Costs
Los Angeles Times • April 24, 2024
San Diego's mayor created a department in 2021 to find solutions to the homelessness crisis. The number of people experiencing homelessness in San Diego increased 35% from 2022 to 2023. City officials are pushing to create a long-term mega shelter with 1,000 beds, including meals, showers, and other amenities. However, the shelter proposals do not address the root cause of homelessness. Housing costs. This is the third installment of a 4 part series exploring solutions to homelessness in California.
What Cities can Learn From Bakersfield’s Brief Success Ending Chronic Homelessness
Los Angeles Times • April 23, 2024
Bakersfield focused its efforts on a specific goal in 2015, to reach functional zero chronic homelessness, and by January 2020, it hit the mark. Access to quality data was essential to knowing every person experiencing homelessness, but also cooperation among agencies and strong engagement from the healthcare system was key to achieving this goal. Unfortunately, Bakersfield could not sustain functional zero homelessness. It was hard to secure affordable units. Margot Kushel, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative at UC San Francisco, said "The rates of homelessness and the ability for people to exit homelessness really has everything to do with the availability and affordability of housing for low-income folks." This is the second installment of a 4 part series exploring solutions to homelessness in California.
California is the U.S. Capital for Homelessness. What Will it Take to Turn that Around?
Los Angeles Times • April 22, 2024
More than 181,000 Californians were unhoused in 2023, with nearly 70% living on the streets. Cities provide resources for emergency solutions, but it is not really a solution. Margot Kushel, MD, director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, said, "We’re at a place in California, unfortunately, where doing well is often running in place." This is the first installment of a 4 part series exploring solutions to homelessness in California.
How Homelessness is a Public Health Crisis
Harvard Magazine • April 16, 2024
Homelessness has surged in the United States. It is a devastating public health crisis with ruinous, often permanent, effects on people’s lives.  Margot Kushel, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative at UC San Francisco, said, "We will not solve this problem by denying the enormous trauma that people who’ve experienced homelessness have been through.”
Why Homeless People are Losing Health Coverage in Medicaid Mix-ups
NPR • April 16, 2024
About 130,000 Montanans have lost Medicaid coverage as the state re-evaluates everyone's eligibility following a federally mandated pause in disenrollment that began during the COVID-19 pandemic. People experiencing homelessness may not have the resources to fill out the paperwork and being without health coverage can be risky. Margot Kushel, MD, director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, said, "Being out of your asthma medicine for three days can be life threatening."
Unhoused People Kicked Off Medicaid in Montana
Montana Public Radio • April 4, 2024
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Americans who got their health coverage from Medicaid increased. States are now required to check that every person is still eligible for Medicaid. However, some people who do qualify have accidentally lost coverage. This is particularly harmful for people experiencing homelessness. Margot Kushel, MD, director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, said, "It doesn't seem like such a big deal to fill out paperwork. Put yourself in the position of an elder who's experiencing homelessness and has lost their vision and has no access to computer, no access to car, doesn't have a cell phone."
Teaching Robots to Smile, and the Effects of a Rare Mandolin on a Scientist’s Career
Science • March 28, 2024
Margaret Handley, PhD, MPH, a professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics and medicine at the University of California San Francisco shares a letter she wrote to Science about how her past, her family, and a rare instrument relate to her current career focus on public health and homelessness. Dr. Handley wrote, "The idea of helping people stay in housing, or improving their lives as they revolve around the uncertainty of a storage locker existence, keeps me going on my research-weary days."
Why California Doesn't Know How Many People Are Dying While Homeless
KQED • March 25, 2024
More Californians have fallen into homelessness, and more have died while unhoused. However, the state’s ability to track these deaths and assess the scope of the problem hasn’t kept pace. In 2022, California added a field to death records for homeless status. The data is essential to assess the state's public health interventions and shape decisions. Margot Kushel, MD, director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, said, "One of the problems with not reporting it is that it makes it harder to act."
UCSF Professor Presents Homelessness Research at Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies
The Harvard Crimson • March 25, 2024
Margot Kushel, MD, director of the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, delivered the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies’ 23rd John T. Dunlop Lecture. After the lecture there was a panel, featuring, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless founder, Harvard Medical School professor James J. O’Connell, and Peggy Bailey, a leader of a housing policy research center. The panelists shared there perspectives on policy and economic approaches to addressing the housing crisis, agreeing that providing dedicated, sustained support to unhoused individuals is necessary. “The first thing we need to do is to recognize that every single path to ending this crisis flows through housing,” Dr. Kushel said.
The Toxic Problem of Poverty and Housing Costs: Lessons from New Landmark Research About Homelessness
Joint Center for Housing Studies • March 21, 2024
Margot Kushel, MD, director of the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, delivered the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies’ 23rd John T. Dunlop Lecture. Dr. Kushel spoke about the impact that homelessness has on an individual’s quality of life, highlighting the lived experiences of unhoused Californians who participated in the California Statewide Study of People Experiencing Homelessness. After the lecture there was a panel, featuring, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless founder, Harvard Medical School professor James J. O’Connell, and Peggy Bailey, a leader of a housing policy research center. JCHS Managing Director Chris Herbert, the moderated the panel. Dr. Kushel said, "While it is really easy to blame people impacted by homelessness, doing so not only is not fair or right, but it also isn’t going to get us any closer to a solution."