For our first field day aimed at exploring the connection between mental health and homelessness in the light of the current administration’s new health care bill, the SPARK staff provided essential supplies to homeless people, such as water and snacks, in an effort to provide our community with resources, both immediate and more long-term. Originally, we intended to pass out the snacks and water as we spoke with the community members regarding their access to healthcare and healthcare services, such as mental health treatment, but several barriers prevented us from being able to fully explore these issues.
First, we did not account for the reality that many of the people we spoke with have had very little to no access to healthcare at varying points during their lives, and thus were unfamiliar and/or had no real opinion on the current state of health care access in the U.S. In addition, many of the people we met needed more immediate services and resources, such as housing (of course), food, and jobs so the idea of health access was a distant concern.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), homelessness is an incredibly prevalent issue in the US with over 500,000 people going without shelter every night. This has devastating effects on public health and the team at Tuck Sleep has created a portal to help increase awareness and help those affected by homelessness.
The portal contains a complete directory of all emergency shelters in the US, organized by state, with contact information (phone, web and address) as well as all of the services they offer plus a curated compilation of national and online resources for those affected by homelessness looking for help. Click here to access the portal.