Homelessness and Addiction


During the last couple years, many American cities have seen a significant rise in homelessness. This is especially true for large cities along the west coast such as San Francisco, Portland, and Los Angeles. Homeless are about five times more likely to suffer from a mental illness then the regular population. They are also four times more likely to suffer from a problem with addiction. Homeless also have a higher rate of relapse once they begin treatment and often do not have access to government funded aid. There are many reasons for this. Many of which have to do with lack of permanent addresses, and no formal identifications. When an individual suffers from both mental health issues and substance abuse issues, it is referred to as a co-occurring diagnosis. And since homeless are significantly more likely to have a co-occurring issue, it is thought that both mental illness and substance abuse issues contribute to homelessness.    

Wealth Inequality

An additional factor in the homeless epidemic is the wealth inequality. Those already struggling to get by day to day are at significantly greater risk to become homeless. Poverty in the united states is very expensive, and often individuals that would otherwise qualify for aid have a hard time receiving it without a permanent address or without proper Identification. Without easy access to housing and healthcare, they can also be more susceptible to health issues, mental health or otherwise. These individuals suffer much greater risk of being homeless.

Solutions to the Homelessness

Because a large portion of the homeless suffer from addiction and mental illness, one solution is to increase the number of shelters and mental health facilities. This may be why California is struggling more than other states, they have decreased the number of shelters and other aid programs over the last twenty years. In addition, many of the states that are struggling, have had a significant increase in housing prices. The amount of inflation has not kept up with the wages creating the poverty gap that seems to drag down so many families. And increased cost of healthcare has led to even more weight being held down on lower income households.  


None of the main issues of homelessness have overnight solutions, and it is best to set up conditions that slowly work to correct the underlying issues instead or simple fixes such as relocation. It would take a very dedicated and coordinated effect to get homelessness back under control. Since most of the problems started occurring more recently it should be easy to see exactly which state policies have contributed to the downward spiral effect of lack of services in these west coast states. Although it could be a nation-wide problem that just got dumped on the states most willing to accept homeless due to their climate. Either way rehab centers and mental health aid need to be at the forefront in proving their services to promote a healthy, sustainable change in this crisis.

Addiction is a serious condition that effects many people, and it can have a devastating impact on the individuals suffering and their family and friends. However, not all treatments are the same and not all clinics are the same. StepHouse recovery is unique in our approach, we offer inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment and monitored hospitalization. Overall, we have five different levels of treatment designed to provide the exact level of care for each case. We also provide an inhouse detox program and dual diagnosis therapy.   

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