Most homeless adults have a chronic health condition.
- 81% of adults experiencing homelessness have a chronic physical health condition (57%), serious mental illness (64%), or substance use disorder (24%).
- 50% of adults experiencing homelessness have co-occurrences of these conditions.
Since 2000, the proportion of adults experiencing chronic physical and mental health conditions has increased, while substance use disorder has remained relatively flat. In particular, the mental health diagnosis of post- traumatic stress disorder has tripled between 2000 and 2018.
These conditions create additional barriers to finding and keeping stable housing and economic opportunity. Having health issues while homeless makes it more difficult to get out of homelessness and worsens the health issues themselves.
The increasing number of homeless older adults with chronic physical health conditions is cause for concern.
Seventy-five percent of older adults experiencing homelessness have a chronic physical health condition (compared to 57% of all adults experiencing homelessness). This proportion has risen consistently since 2009 (66%). Nearly all older adults experiencing homelessness (90%) reported that a disability limits their ability to work or complete activities of daily living (such as eating, bathing, and dressing). The sharp increase in the percentage of older homeless adults, as well as the increase in reported chronic physical health conditions, amounts to a public health crisis.