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Emergency Management and Homeless Services Providers: The Need for Cross-Sector Collaboration
Monday, November 17, 2014
On any given night in the United States, approximately 650,000 individuals are without homes. The rate of homelessness continues to climb, with children and families comprising the most rapidly growing subpopulation of those experiencing homelessness. Alarmingly, those experiencing unstable housing are often the most excluded in emergency management activities, leaving them particularly vulnerable to disasters and emergencies. A myriad of factors compound the ability of the homeless to prepare, respond and recover from disasters, including limited economic and material resources; social exclusion and isolation; and disproportionate rates of disability, illness and addiction. In an effort to better understand the perspectives of the homeless specific to disaster and emergency preparedness, focus groups and interviews were conducted with this population. Qualitative summaries of these face-to-face interactions will be shared. “Surviving the Streets: A Dialogue,” a model program developed by the National Health Care for the Homeless, will also be detailed as an example of interprofessional collaboration of emergency management, public health and homeless service providers. The Model will be reviewed as an illustration of how emergency management and public health officials, alongside persons who are homeless, can address issues of preparedness and response. The “Surviving the Streets” model is unique in that a peer-to-peer paradigm is utilized with the “facilitators” themselves being those who have experienced homelessness. Qualitative data analyses from the Model will be presented along with lessons learned from the sessions. The need for cross-sector interprofessional collaboration is key to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens.
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe the understanding of disaster and emergency preparedness from the perspective of individuals experiencing homelessness.
Discuss a model of educating individuals experiencing homelessness on how to prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and emergencies.
Explain issues that impact disaster preparedness in individuals experiencing homelessness.
Keyword(s): Emergency Preparedness, Homelessness
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Kristi Messer, MSW, MPH serves NSU as the Assistant Project Manager of the Institute for Disaster and Emergency Preparedness. She holds an assistant professorship in Public Health offering undergraduate and graduate instruction within the Masters of Public Health program and the Masters of Disaster and Emergency Preparedness program. Kristi is the Executive Director of Project HOPE, an innovative training program to provide medical students with education specific to working with individuals who are homeless.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.