18-35 Segment 1: Healthcare and the Homeless

RHJ 18-35A worpess


Homeless Americans have a life expectancy of only around 50, and often use the ER for primary care at a huge cost. The lack of follow-up care for their illnesses and the mental health or substance abuse disorders common in this population add up to an enormous health burden. Experts discuss how doctors on the street can improve health for the homeless and lower cost for society.


  • Dr. Jim Withers, Medical Director and Founder, Pittsburgh Mercy Health System Operation Safety Net and the Street Medicine Institute 
  • Dr. Jim O’Connell, President, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program and author, Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor

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17-33 Segment 1: Criminalization of Homelessness


In 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated that there were more than 500,000 homeless Americans on a given single night in January. The U.S. government currently claims that, while there are high rates of homeless Americans, the number is actually decreasing. Many experts challenge that claim, saying that homelessness is on the rise. This week we speak with Eric Tars, Senior Attorney with the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty; Scout Katovich, Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic at Yale University and Peggy Choudhry, Commissioner in Osceola County, FL about:

  • How the number of homeless individuals is increasing and why the published statistics don’t accurately represent the entire situation.
  • The criminalization of homelessness by passing local ordinances and the negative impact that these ordinances have on communities.
  • The Constitutional right violations of homeless individuals when bans and local ordinances are implemented.
  • The reasons that many homeless people are vulnerable to arrest and how this may impede rather than help them escape poverty.


  • Eric Tars, Senior Attorney, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty

  • Scout Katovich, Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, Yale University

  • Peggy Choudry, Commissioner, Osceola County, Florida

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16-42 Segment 2: Brain Injury and Homelessness

homeless man sitting on the chair


Research is showing that a remarkably high proportion of homeless men have suffered a traumatic brain injury in the past, raising the possibility that TBIs may cause behaviors directly leading to homelessness. Experts discuss their research.

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