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Homeless Paper

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Homeless Paper

  1. 1. In researchingatopicto coverfor thisassignmentIdecidedtolookatthe homelessindoingsoIfound some startlingstaticsregardinghomelessnessinwomeninthe Torontoareaso I decidedtolook specificallyatthispopulationof the homeless. I startedwithwhywomenbecome homelessasthatis the firstissue todeal with.Most womenendup homelessbecauseof domesticviolence,andstayhomelessasaway of attemptingtostay safe.Itwas reportedthat3 out of 10 womenwhostayedinsheltersreporteddomesticviolence tothe shelterstaff. Otherreasonsthat were givenwere lowpayingjobsforwomen,noaccesstoreasonable safe childcare, lack of affordable housing,government cutbacksof social assistance,slowlylosingeverythingdue to substance use andsome reportedthatdue to mental illnesstheywere notable tomaintainreasonable housing.Itwasalso statedthatthe numberof homelesswomenisunderestimatedandreporteddue to the fact that some womenwill trytostay withfriendsorfamilybeforeaccessingshelters. The most rapidlygrowingpopulationof homelessare families,singlemothers,immigrants,refugees, seniorsandchildrenall of whichhave become the more visible homelessinrecentyearstothe point that homelessnesshasbeendeclaredanatural disaster. 1. Approximately67%have substance abuse issues,thiscouldbe forvariousreasonssome reportedthattheystartedto use to blockout the violence theywerelivingwithothersreportedusing as a way to deal withpre-existingillness. 2. Anotherstatisticwasthatapproximately75% sufferwithaconcurrentdisorder. The cause of thiscan be directlylinkedtothe factthat since 1999 psychiatricbedshave fell by80%. 3. Rightnowin Torontothere are onlyapproximately385bedsavailable forabusedwomen. It has beenestimatedthat300 babiesare bornyearlyto homelesswomenandteens;theyare dischargedformhospitalswithnoware togo and noway of takingcare of theirchildren.These women alsosufferfromcompactionsduringpregnancydue tounplannedpregnancy,violence theyare subjectedto,lackof prenatal care andfood. Homelesswomenwill alsosufferhigherlevelsof stressasmanyhave childrenintheircustodyandhave to findsafe placesforthemto stay,theywill alsosufferfrommalnutritionastheywill regularlygo hungryin an efforttofeedtheirchildren. Some of these un-plannedpregnanciesare due towomenwhohave resortedto prostitutionasawayof supportingthemselvesandtheirchildrenortheiraddiction. Thisalsoopenswomenupto varioushealthissuessuchasvariousSTI’S,HIV/AIDS, un-wantedpregnancynoaccesstobirthcontrol andmore violence.4It wasreportedthat 6 in 10 womenhave some formof an STI, andalmosthalf the womensurveyedreportedexperiencingphysical, sexual andemotional abuse orhadbeenassaultedwithinthe lastyear.
  2. 2. The healthissuesfacinghomelesswomenare malnutrition,diabetes,hypertension,anemia,impetigo, scabies/bodylice,tuberculosis,commoncolds/fluandlackof birthcontrol,variousrespiratoryillnesses and gynaecological issuesnottomentionpremature death.Diabetesisone of the biggestissuesasmost sheltersdonotallowneedlesinthemandaccessto suppliesneededsuchasinsulinthathomelesscan’t afford. Approximately54%of homelesswomenusedanemergencydepartmentwithinthe lastyearastheydo not have regularfamilydoctorscausingthemtohave widelyscatteredmedical recordsmakinghardto followuponongoingmedical issuesthatneedtobe monitoredanddealtwith.5it wasalso reported that 40% or 4 in 10 do not have healthcardsor i.dcausinganotherissue inobtaininghealthcare. The mental illnessthathomelesssufferfromincludesdepression,anxietydisorder,bipolardisorder, schizophreniaandwill sometimespresentwithparanoidandavoidance behavioursjusttoname a few. Some will alsohave undiagnosedillnesstherefore leadstounderutilizedpsychiatricservices.Notall people sufferingfromthisillnessneedtobe hospitalizedbutthere isaproblemforthemobtaining affordable housingandincome tomaintaintheirrequiredmedical treatmentssuchasprescriptions.Itis alsoknownthat they will developasubstance addictiontomasksymptomsof mental illness.Mostof these people are notable tomaintainemploymentaswell causingincome issues. Thiswhole populationhasfewersocial,familyorcommunitysupportscausingthemtobe more isolated. 6 It was alsonotedthat29% of homelesswomenlastyearattemptedsuicide. InTorontoalone there are 12 sheltersdedicatedtoabusedwomenandtheirneeds,8that focuson familiesand14 that are for youthand theirneeds.Thatisnot including the shelterssetupformenonly.There isalso50 dropin centersacrossToronto designedtoassistthe homelesswiththingslikeaccessingincomesupport servicessuchasOntarioworks(welfare) ordisability. One of the facilitiesIlookedatforthisassignmentiscalledSistering.Thisfacilityoffersvariousprograms to womensuchas whattheycall case supportwhere there supportstaff will accompanywomentotheir appointmentstohelpthemdeal withgovernmentservicessuchasOntarioWorks,re applyingforhealth cards, immigration,andlegal appointments.Theywillalsoadvocate forthe womenandtheirrightto serviceswithinthe community.Attheirdropintheyalsooffersupportandindividual aswellasgroup counsellingdealingwithissuesaroundtraumaandviolence.Theyalsohave aprogram to assistin findingandmaintaininghousingandalsoprovide longtermpermeanthousingthroughapartner program theyare involvedinforwomen. For womenthathave foundhousingtheyofferassistancewithlandlordandtenantissues/court.The healthservicestheyofferare psychotherapy,referralstocommunityhealthcentersandclinics,public healthnurse anddental referral toa dental school theyhave partneredwith.The meal programthey offeraims to provide nutritiousmealstakingintoconsiderationhealthissuesthatthe womenmayhave such as diabetes,hepc,hypertension,HIV/AIDSandpregnancy.Sisteringalsooffersemployment servicestowomenthroughothercompaniestheyhave partneredwithtoteachwomenamarketable skill onof these beingOnThe Paththat teachesindustrial sewingtowomenandholdscontractsforthe
  3. 3. womentowork forcompaniessuchas Comragsand Levi Strauss.SisteringalsohasEnglishasa second language classesonsite dailyforwomen. The other programI lookedatis calledStreetHealthandIwas surprisedbyall the programstheyoffer. Theyhave a nursingprogram staffedbyvolunteerRN’sthatoperate scheduledclinicsandoutreach programsto the homeless.CommunityMental Healthprogramthatprovidescase supportat2 dropin centers. CrisisOutreachServicesforSeniors(CROSS) isamobile crisisinterventionandoutreachprogramfor seniors65+ thisrunssevendaysa weekandtheywill doinhome visits,dropincentersandcommunity centervisitstoservice the needsof seniors. The SaferStroll Projectisaimedat the sex workersitprovideseducationaroundhealthissuesthisgroup faces,workshops,self defenseclasses,andemergencyresponseplanningthis isasheetthatthe women wouldfill outlistingwhotocontact incase of an emergencyandif theyhave beenmissingforacertain periodof time if theywantto be reportedas a missingpersontothe police,thisissetupwiththe shelterthatthe women frequentthe mostandit issetup that if theyhave not checkedinfor5 days theycan be reportedmissingtothe police.Thisisjusta few thingsofferedinthe saferstroll program. Harm Reductionprogramwiththe aimto reduce druguse and education theyalsoprovide clean needlesandsafe crackkitsto people. Drug InfoProjectprovidesweeklydropinaccessto healthcare workersandsocial workers,housing help,educationarounddrugsanddrugrelatedissues,healthyfoodandreferralstoocommunity services. I.D Replacementprogramhelpshomelesstore obtainneedi.dsuchas healthcards,birthcertificates etc. I.D Safe isa program where the homelesscanmake arrangementstostore theiri.dandimportant documentssotheywon’thave to worryaboutthembeinglostor stolen. Mail Service providesthe homelesswithanaddresstoreceive mail atandsomeone toreceive itfor themthisalsohelpsthemwithanaddressif theyare lookingtosecure employmentorgovernment assistance. Clothing/SleepingBagDistributionprovidescleanclothesandsleepingbagstothose inneedof them. I am sure there are probablymore agenciesliketheseinTorontobutthese were the onlytwoIcould findinformationon.Iwassurprisedatthe extentof the servicesofferedbythemandall the different areas theyattempttocover inassistingthe homelessandhow fartheyhave gone to try to remove as manybarriersas theycan to allowthe homelesstoaccessservices.
  4. 4. REFRENCES StreetHealth-- http://www.streethealth.ca/home.htm http://www.streethealth.ca/Downloads/SafeStroll2010.pdf HealthStatusof HomelessWomen- http://www.ontla.on.ca/library/repository/mon/6000/10315600.pdf #’s 1 – 6 are facts andpercentfromthisarticle Sistering-- http://www.sistering.org/index.php Cityof Toronto2012 guide toservicesforpeople whoare homeless -- http://www.toronto.ca/housing/guidetoservices/index.htm

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