Housing is Health Care
As the Biden Administration settles into their new home at the White House, I hope they prioritize the over half a million Americans without a home of their own. Housing is integral to health, and decreasing homelessness benefits the U.S. health care system through reductions in hospital use and health spending as well as improved health outcomes. Providers supporting the medical, behavioral, and social needs of individuals experiencing homelessness need to be able to closely collaborate in order to successfully transition people into housing and keep them housed. Over the past few years, innovative efforts have been made across localities and states to better integrate health care and social services, one example being California’s Whole Person Care Pilots. However, these successes need to move beyond grant and pilot programs. The Biden Administration should work with Congress and the federal government to provide leadership, resources, and guidance that build off the successes of these programs. That so many of our neighbors are living in homelessness is treated as anything other than an acute crisis in the United States is a devastating indictment on the soul of our nation. The Biden Administration and federal government have a vital role to play in meeting the urgency of the moment and creating a more holistic system of care that is better able to address this critical issue.