As of January 2020, over 580,000 individuals were experiencing homelessness in America, in every state and territory. 2020 was the fourth consecutive year that rates of homelessness increased, with a 2 percent increase between 2019 and 2020 alone, and saw a growing population of people living outdoors. In August of 2021, the Supreme Court issued a majority opinion that ended the national eviction moratorium put in place at the beginning of the pandemic – a decision that some experts fear could lead to even greater rates of homelessness. As COVID-19 continues to present new and evolving challenges for the nation’s health care system, it is important to understand how to best serve one of the country’s most vulnerable populations and increase access to health care services equitably and sustainably.
In this briefing, experts overviewed the specific health and access challenges faced by people experiencing homelessness. Panelists also offered insights on how to deliver effective health care to this population, with a specific focus on barriers to access and potential policy strategies to alleviate these barriers.
- Sachin H. Jain, MD, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer, SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan (opening remarks)
- Barbara DiPietro, Ph.D., Senior Director of Policy, National Health Care for the Homeless Council
- Dr. Jim O’Connell, M.D., MTh, President and Founder, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program; Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
- David Peery, J.D., Co-Chair, National Consumer Advisory Board, National Health Care for the Homeless Council
- Ellen Lawton, J.D., Senior Fellow, HealthBegins (moderator)