Individuals experiencing homelessness demonstrate more significant health disparities than their housed counterparts and are among the most vulnerable of all populations, which has been proven to result in premature mortality. The mortality rates of people experiencing homelessness (PEH) have been comprehensively documented; however, the United States has no formal tracking method or statistics for people who die while experiencing homelessness.
A community partnership between federally qualified health centers, hospitals, community-based mental health agencies, homeless service providers, and the medical examiner will assist in tracking the health and mortality of the population through street outreach to ensure accurate assessments and screeners are used to track, advocate, and support this population. Research has concluded that achieving an integrated approach to care depends on successfully coordinating services through complex but sensitive care coordination. A homeless mortality review task force can address this detrimental gap in services for PEH if we ground practice in theory. The standpoint framework drives social workers and other health care professionals to be analytically mindful of the complexities and intersectionality of the population and to be comprehensive in our approach to practice.
The systematic review focused on evaluating a HMRTF’s ability to successfully decrease mortality rates in individuals experiencing homelessness while increasing routine medical appointment utilization through street outreach, data collection, and collaboration among community partners. The conceptual paper theoretically grounded the HMRTF in the standpoint perspective of social work. This framework enhances the HMRTF’s effectiveness in working with vulnerable populations and demonstrates the intersections of race, ability, poverty, and homelessness. The final product, the practice application paper, focused on applying research knowledge and synthesis to this gap in services.
Social work professionals who utilize standpoint theory are more cognizant of the population’s unique barriers, social determinants of health, susceptibility to premature mortality, and the necessity of meeting PEH where they are to treat their chronic conditions. To effectively treat PEH, the implications of their illness, identity, and the possibility of early mortality must be examined. Negligence of these factors will result in less effective social work and health care coordination.