The COVID-19 pandemic seems to be slowing down as government restrictions begin to get lifted across the United States and around the world. Many Americans are eager for things to get back to normal again in their lives.
Unfortunately, the thousands of homeless Americans in the country will continue struggling to find affordable housing and healthcare. We already saw how brutal it was for homeless people to obtain these necessities during the pandemic when they needed them the most.
Now, even though the pandemic is not a big issue anymore, homeless people continue to struggle with their physical and mental health. All the federal subsidies and the federal moratorium did little to help them. And to make matters worse, the rising rate of inflation is making it nearly impossible for Health and Human Services to address the homeless crisis effectively.
The only solution for mitigating the problem is for members of the healthcare community to come together and address the issue directly. We all need to develop a sustainable method of delivering accessible and affordable preventative care and primary care services to homeless people in America. That way, the homeless don’t have to rely on emergency rooms to give them expensive care that will fall back on the taxpayers.
Technology May Be the Answer
What stops homeless people from receiving adequate primary care services? Well, besides the issue of having no money or health insurance, they also don’t have transportation, personal identification, or social services to assist them. You’d be surprised how often a local social services agency will ignore homeless people and their problems. Otherwise, wouldn’t all homeless people get the shelter and care they need?
Preventative care and education would go a long way in preventing homeless people from experiencing drug overdoses, heart disease, poor nutrition, mental disorders, and physical injuries. Homeless people need easy access to local healthcare resources in their community so that they can take the appropriate steps to improve their health.
Technology can help in this endeavor. For instance, a startup app called Samaritan links homeless people to lifesaving resources and care providers in their local communities. In addition, it encourages people from various communities to assist with funding the effort to address homeless people’s health and wellness. So, as a community, people come together to help the homeless.
After all, one of the biggest obstacles homeless people face is that they don’t have a viable network of support. Most people who end up homeless have suffered a life-changing event, such as job loss, mental illness, domestic abuse, drug abuse, etc. If they don’t have any family or friends to help them, they usually end up alone on the streets with no social safety net whatsoever.
Fortunately, app technology can establish a social safety net for homeless people by directly connecting them to local care providers. And if you’re wondering if homeless people have access to smartphones and computers, the answer would be “yes.” You’d be surprised how many homeless people have access to this technology despite their situation. They could either use a prepaid smartphone or visit their local public library to use the computer.
The Top Ways Technology Can Improve the Health of the Homeless
1) Connects Homeless People to Local Community Members
Many urban communities throughout the country have community members with easy access to social support and resources for homeless people. The problem is that homeless people don’t know how to connect with these community members. But now, homeless people can use apps to connect with them from anywhere in the community.
Samaritan is an excellent example of an app that connects the homeless to members of their community. However, homeless people can also use social media apps to communicate and establish connections as well. Information sharing online can go a long way to helping a homeless person get sheltered or healthcare assistance.
2) Saves Money, Time, and Resources
Some community members walk the streets to seek out homeless people in need of assistance. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough money, time, and resources for community members to directly seek out every homeless person and connect them with viable healthcare resources.
As a result, emergency rooms in hospitals get overwhelmed with homeless patients suffering from physical and mental health problems. This problem escalated drastically during the pandemic when millions of Americans were affected.
Just imagine if more technology had been used to serve homeless people and connect them with healthcare resources during the pandemic. It could have saved many hospitals a lot of money, time, and resources from dealing with an influx of patients.
3) Community Members Addressing Homeless Health Problems Immediately
Charitable community members are the backbone of establishing technology as a viable option for connecting homeless people to healthcare resources. Homeless people will be able to receive immediate help with their health conditions and problems.
Many studies have shown that charitable contributions to homeless patient healthcare do an excellent job of reducing stress, blood pressure, and other symptoms in patients with physical and mental health problems.
The homelessness problem is only getting worse in America. Rather than depending on the government to care for the homeless, communities must come together to solve the problem. Then it will take the burden off the traditional healthcare system and emergency rooms across the country.