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Homelessness : A Worldwide Public Health Crisis Essay

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Homelessness: A Worldwide Public Health Crisis
In the United States, there were approximately 564,708 people who were homeless on a single winter night in 2015 (Housing and Urban Development, 2015). Worldwide, acquiring an accurate picture of homelessness has proven challenging due to varying definitions country to country. Furthermore, data on homelessness has also proven to be extremely sparse in many parts of the world. The last worldwide survey was attempted by the United Nations. Based on the survey it was estimated that 100 million people were homeless across the world (United Nations, 2005). Considering the well-known negative effects that homelessness has on public health, these immense numbers indicate an increased call for action towards effectively combating homelessness. Prevention of homelessness for at-risk groups should be a greater focus for world leaders and policy makers. In addition, greater efforts should be placed on addressing the complex, underlying causes of homelessness and housing instability, as well as breaking down institutional barriers that often disenfranchise certain populations.
Definitions of Homelessness
The definition of homelessness varies throughout the world. Homelessness in the United States is often categorized as someone residing in places not meant for human habitation (streets, sidewalks, riverbeds, or in cars), emergency shelters, or in transitional or supportive housing. Federally, this definition can even include those
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