Approximately 568,000 people in the U.S. experienced homelessness on a single night in January 2019, according to the HUD Point-in-Time Count. Ending homelessness is a public health issue as it increases one’s risk of experiencing mortality, co-occurring disorders, violence, mental health crises, barriers to care.1,2 As the country navigates this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that negative health and economic outcomes associated with homelessness and housing instability have intensified. Since early 2020, millions of homeowners and renters have lost their jobs, faced economic hardships and are unable to afford their mortgage or rent. According to a report from the Aspen Institute, 30-40 million people in America were at risk of eviction in late 2020.3
Since 2015, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s national program office Systems for Action has funded research projects aimed at identifying effective strategies and financing mechanisms to align the medical, public health and social services sectors. Well-coordinated cross-sector efforts can lead to improved health and well-being for individuals and the community. Systems for Action projects aim to improve the conditions of daily life by conducting rigorous research that identifies innovative solutions for collaboration sectors to tackle structural drivers of inequities and address social determinants of health.
This panel will feature Systems for Action investigators that research housing and homelessness through a unique, multi-sector lens focused on health equity. Panelists will discuss their findings on strategies to address fragmentation between medical, social, and public health services that can better address homelessness and housing instability.