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Recent Publications

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council’s publications answer frequently asked questions about homelessness, medical respite care, policy, and research. Use our fact sheets with new staff and volunteers, during governing board orientations, meetings with your legislators, as part of your agency’s press kits, or with your community partners and collaborators.

Publications older than 5 years are located in the Research Archives.


Oral Health and Diabetes in Patients Experiencing Homelessness | May 2019

This publication with the National Network for Oral Health Access examines the connections between periodontal disease, diabetes, and homelessness. The limited access to health care experienced by people without homes creates poor health outcomes and a lack of preventive care for chronic conditions, including diabetes and periodontal disease. Learn the answers to frequently asked questions related to this care for individuals experiencing homelessness in the fact sheet and watch our archived webinar, “Oral Health and Diabetes for Patients Experiencing Homelessness.”


Homelessness & Adverse Childhood Experiences: The Health and Behavioral Health Consequences of Childhood Trauma | February 2019

Childhood trauma has lasting impacts on health outcomes and development. This fact sheet explores the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences and provides screening and treatment options. This resource was developed in partnership with the National Network to End Family Homelessness, an initiative of The Bassuk Center on Homelessness and Vulnerable Children and Youth.


Homelessness & Health: What’s the Connection? | February 2019

Homelessness can take many forms, with people living on the streets, in encampments or shelters, in transitional housing programs, or doubled up with family and friends. While the federal government reports 1.5 million people a year experience homelessness, other estimates find up to twice this number of people are actually without housing in any given year. The connection between housing and homelessness is generally intuitive, but the strong link between health and homelessness is often overlooked. This fact sheet outlines how health and homelessness are intertwined—and why housing is health care.


2016 Uniform Data System Summary: Profile of HCH Grantees | October 2018

The Uniform Data System (UDS) is a central repository for standardized health data from health centers funded under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act. Our new report summarizes how the National HCH Council has utilized 2016 UDS data to provide technical assistance (TA) to 330(h) grantees and lookalikes to establish benchmarks, identify needs and prioritize new programs, demonstrate the value and impact of grantees and the overall HCH program, and facilitate the delivery of targeted training and TA.


Suicide and Homelessness: Data Trends in Suicide and Mental Health Among Homeless Populations | May 2018

Given the conditions that we know increase the likelihood of suicide in the general population, compounding factors faced when experiencing homelessness place those without homes at much higher risk. This fact sheet details common risk factors for suicidal behaviors, mental health and clinical utilization trends of HCH grantees reported in the 2016 Uniform Data System dataset, and circumstantial data reported in the National Violent Death Reporting System.


Demonstrating Value: Measuring the Impact of the Health Care for the Homeless Grantees | August 2017

Alaina Boyer, National Health Care for the Homeless Council 

Demonstrating the value of health centers is a necessary element of sustainability and measuring benefit. To help illustrate that value, this document provides an overview of the complex challenges facing homeless populations, the history of Health Care for the Homeless, and the critical impact of the work of HCH programs.


Addressing the Opioid Epidemic: How the Opioid Crisis Affects Homeless Populations | August 2017

Brett Poe and Alaina Boyer, National Health Care for the Homeless Council 

This fact sheet examines how the opioid crisis affects people without homes. America is facing an opioid crisis, and that epidemic has significantly impacted people without homes. Homeless populations have higher rates of substance use disorders, poorer health, and higher mortality rates by opioid overdose than national averages. Our publication examines the social determinants of health that contribute to that increased prevalence and morbidity. It also details the systemic barriers that hinder access to care and success in recovery for people without homes, as well as best practices to address those barriers. Read the fact sheet.


Prevention & Response to Infectious Diseases Within the Homeless Population | May 2016

Prevention and response procedures to infectious disease outbreaks often do not address the unique circumstances of persons experiencing homelessness. This fact sheet highlights infectious diseases within this population, addresses challenges in in the event of an outbreak, and provides strategies and tools that can be used to prevent and respond to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.


Using the Social Ecological Model to examine how homelessness is defined and managed in rural East Tennessee | April 2016

Claudia Davidson, Velma M Murry, Molly Meinbresse, Darlene M Jenkins, and Robert Mindrup

Often conceptualized as an urban issue, homelessness in rural communities is pervasive due to high rates of poverty, lack of affordable housing, inadequate housing quality, unemployment/underemployment, and geographic isolation. In 2014, the National HCH Council in collaboration with Vanderbilt University and Cherokee Health Systems conducted a study in rural East Tennessee. The purpose of this study was to provide insight to how rural communities define and manage homelessness as well as engage unstably housed individuals on homeless services by investigating the perceptions of different levels of influence of the Social Ecological Model including the individual, organization, and government levels. This publication gives an overview of rural homelessness, methodology, results, and discussion of findings. Read the full publication.


Crime Victim’s Compensation | October 2015

Crime Victim’s Compensation Programs aid victims with expenses in the aftermath of a crime. This fact sheet discusses such programs, how to apply, and strategies to overcome some barriers to use by people experiencing homelessness.


Health and Homelessness among Veterans: Development and Pilot of a Military History Screening Tool | May 2015

Claudia Davidson and Darlene Jenkins, National Health Care for the Homeless Council 

Accurate knowledge of veteran status is essential, as veterans may qualify for a number of Veteran Affair’s (VA) services and benefits that can resolve their health conditions and/or experiences of homelessness. Moreover, information regarding military service may be clinically significant to Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) providers, as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), sexual trauma and certain toxic environmental exposures are common among veterans. In 2013, the National HCH Council conducted a veterans needs assessment which revealed that though providers are inquiring about veteran status, their methods in doing so were inconsistent and not culturally appropriate. Based on these findings, staff at the National HCH Council in collaboration with VA experts developed and piloted a Military History Screening Tool for its use by HCH programs and potentially other organizations. This report includes the steps used in developing the tool and presents results of the pilot conducted in Boston, MA. 

Homeless Care Providers and Rapid HIV Testing | April 2015

Patrina Twilley and Darlene Jenkins, National Health Care for the Homeless Council 

HIV testing and counseling are the cornerstones of HIV prevention response, allowing individuals to know their HIV status and access appropriate services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine, voluntary HIV screening for all patients aged 13 to 65 years in all health care settings as a normal part of medical practice, similar to screening for other treatable conditions. In the spring of 2013, staff of the National HCH Council in collaboration with Dr. Cathie Fogg, Associate Nursing Professor at St. Anslem College in Manchester, NH developed a survey based on Pender’s Health Promotion Model. The survey was administered to homeless care providers  to assess their Rapid HIV testing practices. The report contains the results of the survey.


Exploring the Experiences of Violence Among Individuals Who Are Homeless Using a Consumer-Led Approach | 2014

Meinbresse M, Brinkley-Rubinstein L, Grassette A, Benson J, Hall C, Hamilton R, Malott M, Jenkins D. Exploring the Experiences of Violence Among Individuals Who Are Homeless Using a Consumer-Led Approach. Violence and Victims, 29(1):122-136.

The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of violence victimization among individuals who were homeless and patients of HCH grantees and to describe the characteristics related to their perpetrators, injuries incurred and assistance sought. The National HCH Council Research Committee provided consultation to the National Consumer Advisory Board in developing a rigorous research process to explore these issues. Results from this survey were presented in 2011 as a workshop at the National HCH Conference and as a poster at the American Public Health Association 139th Annual Meeting & Expo in Washington, DC. View the poster.


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