HOMELESS: Housing lack causing epidemic

A new governmental HUD report was just released which reports that for the first time in seven years homelessness has increased.

According to HUD’s “Point In Time Count” report there are nearly 554,000 homeless people. There are 193,000 people living on the street who have no access to any shelters. That is a nine percent increase of unsheltered homeless in two years. The explosion of street-living-homeless has caused the new shocking outbreak of the deadly hepatitis A.

The increased homelessness is a result of the lack of affordable housing, insufficient federal funding, anti-homeless state programs and low-paying jobs. The increase of homelessness has surged in the West Coast, which has experienced rapid growth. The states that have experienced the largest homelessness growth are California, Oregon and Washington.

It was thought that homelessness causes more crimes, but in fact it causes a huge health risk. San Diego County has a hepatitis A epidemic that has spread from the homeless to the general public. A recent CDC study reports 450 San Diego people have caught hepatitis A and 16 people have died. San Diego is adding three more homeless shelters just to curb the hepatitis A outbreak.

Hepatitis A is a liver-damaging virus that lives in feces. One of the problems with unsheltered homeless is that they have no access to bathrooms and relieve themselves on streets, alleys and sidewalks. Hepatitis A is being spread from the bottom of your shoes from walking around and then the virus is brought into your home. Most hand sanitizers will not kill hepatitis A. The fastest population growth segment of homelessness are families with children.

With governmental budget cuts the homelessness problem will get worse. Unless the public becomes aware of this terrible and dangerous problem the elected officials will continue to ignore the homelessness problem and the risk of an increasing national health epidemic of hepatitis A.

Mark and Carol Fairall

Sun City west



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