FHA Loan ProgramHaving a home, as in a physical dwelling, is a fundamental basis for the right to a life of dignity, safety, and security. Feeling at home is vital for good mental and physical health, as it makes you feel more “included”. Renting or owning a house in a neighborhood enhances a person’s private and social life. Simply put, home ownership both a necessity and aspiration that all people share.

The relationship between homelessness and mental illness can be argued based on these circumstances. Having a mental health problem can cause a person to become homeless, and homelessness can cause or exacerbate existing mental health issues.

Homelessness in the US

Several studies report that depression rates are much higher in the homeless population. Rates of hospitalizations are much more pronounced among poor or homeless people. In a 2015 report published by the Nation Alliance to End Homelessness, between 2 to 3 million people in the US experienced an episode of homelessness.

And this number continued to rise as the global financial crisis materialized. By 2014, the number dropped to a million people, an improvement attributed to the passing of the HEARTH Act, which channeled funds to a nationwide homeless assistance system.

There are nearly 100,000 chronically homeless people in the US and many more of them who live in permanent housing still remain poor. But, on a positive note, many family households who experienced homelessness and moved from one transitional shelter to another were able to secure jobs and buy their own homes through the FHA loan program.

Ending Homelessness

Homelessness, much like mental illnesses, is not something you can fix overnight. While like mental illnesses, homelessness is not a hopeless condition. By providing assistance and the economic resources to attain stability, they can bounce back and live a meaningful life.

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Psychologists and advocates consider both homelessness and mental illnesses as a matter of public health, which means that we must redouble our efforts to address homelessness and conditions associated with it. In cases like these, psychologists play an important role in identifying the root causes or specific circumstances that push people with mental health problems to being homeless.

But putting an end to homelessness requires cooperation between various members of the community. Temporary shelters are nothing but band-aid solutions. What experts suggest is a more holistic way of bringing back safety and stability to homeless people’s lives.