Rx For Health: A Place To Call Home

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People experiencing homelessness—exposed to cold, heat, rain, and snow, among other inhospitable elements—suffer from worse health than those who sleep under a roof every night. In fact, homelessness itself can accurately be characterized as a dangerous health condition. Average life expectancy for a person without stable housing is 27.3 years less than the average housed person. People between the ages of 25 and 44 experiencing homelessness face an all-cause mortality risk that is 8.9 times higher than the general population; it is 4.5 times higher for those 45 to 64. Without a place to live, it is nearly impossible for a person to take care of basic health needs. Serious, chronic diseases such as hypertension, asthma, and diabetes are more difficult to manage outside a home, especially if medications are lost or stolen.