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A Study of Cross-Sector Health Care Services for the Homeless: Community Health Service Capacity Measured and Tested

JHHSA, Vol. 43 No. 2, 178-195 (2020)

Communities across the U.S. have been challenged with effectively and efficiently addressing the incidence of homeless. The needs of those experiencing homelessness are varied and complex, and chief among these needs is access to affordable primary health care services. Research indicates that individuals experiencing homelessness are at higher risk of preventable diseases and also are less likely to access health care systems than most other populations. Because federal law delegates the provision of health and human services to local entities such as nonprofits, local governments, and private hospitals, communities create collaborative networks known as Continuum of Care (CoCs) to pool local resources and coordinate community-based health and human services. We conduct an original research by launching a national survey to community service networks, and from data collected, we offer knowledge about the type and variety of health care services made available across communities and the multidimensional factors that are associated with the extent to which communities are responding to the primary health care needs of a vulnerable population. We found that homeless medical service needs and community service resources are associated with the degree to which a CoC provides health care services.

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