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Homeless Families

  • By: Sanna J. Thompson & Makeba Pinder
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Homelessness is a significant and growing problem in the United States. The face of homelessness has drastically changed as families (predominately women and children) make up the fastest growing homeless population. The lack of permanent housing poses unique risks to the health of these women and their children. Homeless families often use emergency and urgent care for their health care as basic survival needs take precedence over health care needs that have not reached urgency.

This entry reviews the definition of homelessness, describes the increased progression in the prevalence of homeless families, examines the current literature of health care-related issues among homeless mothers and children, discusses health care intervention options, and provides recommendations for health care providers who work with homeless families.

Definition of Homelessness

The legal definition ...

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