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The Chronically Homeless and Mentally Ill, and Their Plight to Housing

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The Chronically Homeless Mentally Ill, and Their Plight to Recovery Janelle Morrow Social Work Practice Lab Professor Williams Final

Individuals described as chronically homeless are those with a protracted homeless experience whose stays in the homeless system or on the street are both frequent and long. People that are homeless are reflective of every population demographic. There is no single path to homelessness, and despite stigmatizing images, no single stereotype fits. Individuals that are chronically homeless represent a range of individual vulnerabilities and face a many of systematic barriers that impede accessing adequate housing and services. Current economic climate presents the chance for homelessness to remain high (Coalition for the Homeless, 2002a). According to research, a substantial reduction in the occurrence of chronic homelessness could be achieved by linking affordable housing with treatment and support services. Alcohol and substance abuse is known as both a precipitating factor and consequence of homelessness can effect an individual’s ability to retain housing or limit housing options offered by programs requiring sobriety, and mask underlying or related mental health issues undetected or untreated in addiction treatment programs (Zerger, 2002). Individuals who have co-occurring disorders (COD) are particularly vulnerable to homelessness caused by more severe psychiatric symptoms, self-medication with drugs and alcohol, and frequent contact with the criminal justice system. Typically, once homeless, individuals with COD will have greater problems, need more help and are more...

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