A Quarter of the State's Homeless are Black, Study says - Experts say More Affordable Housing Needed
Sacramento Bee • March 13, 2024
Black Californians make up only 7% of the states population, but make up more than 25% of the state's population of people who experience homelessness. The number is higher in Sacramento County, where 31% of the population experiences homelessness. The obstacles to housing, employment, income and health care that Black Californians have historically faced are also among the pathways to homelessness. "The situation for unhoused Black Californians is dire, but it is not insurmountable,” said Tiana Moore, PhD, the report’s co-author.
Moral Injury & the Musical Chairs of Housing | Dr Margot Kushel
Clinical Changemakers • March 13, 2024
In this podcast episode of Clinical Changemakers, Margot Kushel, MD, director of the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, spoke with host Jonathan Hoogerbrug, MD about the moral injury of being a frontline clinician and having to discharge people back onto the streets. Dr. Kushel also elaborates on her landmark research into Homelessness in California, highlighting the moral, medical, social and economic impact that that this issue has on those individuals, their families and society as a whole. Dr. Kushel said, "The people who are most impacted, obviously, are those experiencing homelessness and the impacts for them are just incalculably horrible. But it impacts everybody." She adds, "There are huge costs to society. There's the intangibles, like loss across the business, community, to tourism. There's the moral injury. What do we say to our children about what does it mean to grow up in a place where so many people are so visibly suffering?"
The Shelters Keeping People Out of Shelters
New York Times • March 7, 2024
Some homeless shelters now offer resources so that people can squeeze in with family members. This diversion approach was pioneered by the Cleveland Mediation Center around 20 years ago. The approach is not for everyone, but it is meant to catch people before they slip into the shelter system. Margot Kushel, MD, director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, said, "Even if it doesn’t work for everybody, if it works for a certain percentage, it’s likely worth it."
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Large Study of U.S. Veterans Shows that Gaining Housing is Associated with Improved Cancer Outcomes
The Cancer Letter • March 1, 2024
Research has demonstrated that homelessness is associated with poor health outcomes. However, there are fewer studies that show that gaining housing is associated with improved health outcomes. In a recent study published in early February was hypothesis-generating and found an association between housing and improved survival. Hannah C. Decker, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco and lead author, said, "Unhoused veterans who gained housing in the year after diagnosis had better outcomes than people who remained unhoused."
In My Place, Episode 1: Homelessness Facts and Faces
WPLN News • February 29, 2024
The perception of people experiencing homelessness is often based on anecdote. In the first episode of WPLNs 9 part housing series, In My Place, Margot Kushel, MD, director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, joins host Khalil Ekulona to talk about the causes of homelessness, the misconceptions and myths of homelessness, and what cities can solve the problem. As the conversation moved to the misconceptions of people experiencing homelessness, Dr. Kushel said, "I think the single biggest misconception is that homelessness is synonymous with mental health and substance use problems." Dr. Kushel adds "At its heart, homelessness is a problem of housing cost."
Why are so Many Seniors in San Diego Aging Without a Home?
NBC 7 San Diego • February 29, 2024
In San Diego, people 55 and older make up at least 29% of the people experiencing homelessness. The seniors experiencing homelessness face tough choices with many of them on a fixed income and unable to afford housing costs in the city. Margot Kushel, MD, director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, said, "When talking about homelessness, 50 is the new 75."
It’s Now Significantly More Deadly to be Homeless. Why are so Many People Dying?
Cal Matters • February 29, 2024
The mortality rate for people experiencing homelessness in America has increased in recent years. People are dying at increased rates because of overdoses, but also of things that may have been avoided if the individual had a home or regular access to preventative medical care. Furthermore, the population of people experiencing homelessness are getting older. In California, the number of people 55 and older who sought homelessness services increased 84%  between 2017 and 2021. Margot Kushel, MD, director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, said, "As the homeless population continues to age, you’re just going to see death rates keep going up and up and up."
Procedural Barriers Complicate Medicaid Enrollment for the Unhoused
Montana Public Radio • February 28, 2024
About two-thirds of those who were kicked off state Medicaid rolls lost it for technical reasons like incorrectly filling out paperwork. In Montana, 120,000 people lost Medicaid as the state re-evaluated everyone's eligibility. Homeless service providers and experts have stated that many unhoused people have lost their Medicaid coverage. 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," but "Put yourself in the position of an elder who’s experiencing homelessness and has lost their vision, who has no access to [a] computer, no access to [a] car, doesn’t have [a] cell phone."
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Housing Linked to Lower Cancer Mortality Among U.S. Veterans
Broadcast Retirement Network AM • February 27, 2024
Housing is linked to lower cancer mortality in US veterans, a recent study found. Hannah C. Decker, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco and lead author of the study, spoke about the study, the pervasiveness of veteran homelessness, and how homelessness affects health. Dr. Decker said, "We are really interested is getting a deeper understanding of how the VA gets veterans into housing, especially those that are diagnosed with serious chronic diseases, like cancer."