Health Promotion in the Homeless Population

Published By: Majdulina Hamed

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New campaigns and initiatives for health care and public health are made every year for individuals living in the United States. However, there are questions regarding how to reach the homeless audience within communities. Additionally, how organizations should approach marketing and health promotion in the homeless population to reach them effectively should be considered. Strategies to assist in health marketing include mobile clinics, policy solutions, and volunteer and donor work. 

One way to reach the homeless community is to provide mobile health clinics in order to offer quality care. According to Western Governors University, “mobile health care for homeless people helps healthcare workers have access to those living on the streets by physically driving healthcare workers to those in need” (2021). This reveals that by traveling to homeless communities and shelters, health care will not only be affordable but also easily accessible. In addition, community health centers are health clinics that provide preventive and primary health services to the homeless and underserved population (WGU, 2021). Community health centers and mobile health services are just a couple of examples of ways to reach the homeless population regarding health promotion. Project Downtown Orlando also acknowledges these issues and utilizes partnerships that assist in providing COVID-19 vaccinations and check-ups with mobile clinics. Mobile Medical Clinics - La Boit Specialty Vehicles, Inc.

Another way to market health care to the homeless community is through policy solutions. For instance, the Affordable Care Act “was created to expand affordable healthcare to all American citizens” (WGU, 2021) and plays a role in preventing and decreasing the homeless population. Implementing policy solutions concerning the underserved communities can make health care more accessible and affordable, ensure preventive and behavioral health care, and focus on health care delivery and outcomes. Moreover, in order to execute these new solutions, socioeconomic and social determinants of health issues should be taken into consideration. Recognizing these issues can help identify the causes of homelessness for individuals and, depending on their circumstances, can find solutions through campaigns and policy approaches. What is Public Health Policy? | Columbia Public Health

Lastly, volunteering and donor work is essential in getting information across to the public about health care in homelessness. In fact, Williams (2017) states that their local homeless shelter “communicates with the public using several platforms [such as] a website where they post testimonial videos, ways to sign-up to volunteer and donate.” These could be a few examples of ways to approach public health marketing campaigns tailored to those in need. Furthermore, “qualitative research should be conducted to identify the key health promotion needs of different homeless people in [which] evaluations will identify the venues and best means of delivering health promotion” (Power et. al., 1999). It is important to understand that interventions and initiatives need to focus on a particular subset of the homeless population whether it be for young people, single mothers, or veterans, for instance. Although education about these issues is effective health promotion, it is not as effective as providing practical assistance such as having access to mobile clinics and packing hygiene kits. 

All in all, delivering health promotion to those in need is essential and the strategies to support the homeless community include mobile clinics, policy solutions, and volunteering opportunities. Project Downtown Orlando intends to provide support to those in need through their website with volunteer openings each week as well as partnering with organizations that deliver preventive health through mobile clinics.

About the author
Majdulina Hamed
Majdulina Hamed is a Master’s Health Administration graduate from the University of Central Florida. Maj also received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Communication from UCF as well as certificates in Health Communication and Leadership. Maj’s goals include public health education through health campaigns, initiatives, marketing, and communication.

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