Homeless people are a part of a vulnerable population who face a very real risk of developing health issues at a rate higher than the rest of the population due to certain disadvantages and co-morbidities. The homeless population is often exposed to the harsh elements of the weather and lack access to basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, and medication. Housing in shelters and transitional homes are not constant and reliable, leaving the homeless population no choice but to spend their days and nights out in the streets. A vulnerable population is defined as those who are at a higher risk than others of developing health issues due to their social status, personal finances, lack of access to resources, or personal characteristics such as age, gender, and/or race (De Chesnay & Anderson, 2012). People facing homelessness may be suffering from one or all of these risk factors making the barriers difficult to overcome. This paper will present homeless people as a vulnerable population and the demographics of this population on a local, state, and national level. Self-reflection, personal biases, and social attitudes and stereotypes will also be discussed. The Perceived Stress Scale will be presented and applied to this population to evaluate the perceptions of stress and the resources used to combat this threat.
The 2013 Annual Homelessness Assessment to Congress presented by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) found that on a single night in January 2013 there were approximately 610,042 suffering from homelessness in the United States, with 394,698 of those people in sheltered locations and the remaining 215,344 people residing in unsheltered locations (HUD, 2013). Nearly one fourth of homeless people comprise of children under the age of 18 and families represent 15 percent of the homeless population (HUD, 2013). On a state level California accounted for more
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