UCLA study suggests trauma helps lead to homelessness
City News Service | 10/11/2019, midnight
UCLA released a two-year study this week that concludes mental and physical health care needs and traumatic experiences are “major factors’’ afflicting unsheltered homeless people, especially women.
“People experiencing homelessness face a number of challenges related to their health and well-being, but this new analysis suggests that people who are unsheltered are far more likely to encounter these problems and that the problems are exacerbated the longer they are unsheltered,’’ said Janey Rountree, executive director of the California Policy Lab at UCLA. “These issues were the most profound for unsheltered women, especially experiences with abuse and trauma.’’
The California Policy Lab analyzed survey responses from more than 64,000 people ages 25 and older who were homeless or unsheltered, in 15 states from 2015 to 2017.
Both unsheltered and sheltered people reported experiences of abuse and/or trauma had caused them to become homeless, but 80 percent of unsheltered women reported abuse and/or trauma as the cause of their transiency—much higher rates than the 34 percent of unsheltered men who responded the same.
“While individuals who are sheltered report on average fewer health and mental health conditions, the data does not support a finding that shelter is the cause of improved health,’’ according to the Policy Lab.
About half of all unsheltered respondents said they suffer from a combination of physical and mental health issues and a substance abuse condition, what researchers call a state of “trimorbidity.’’ The number of unsheltered people who reported those issues was more than 25 times the number of