Homelessness can be both a cause and an effect of substance abuse. The 100,000 Homes Campaign, an initiative designed to help communities place homeless people in permanent homes, conducted a survey of more than 30,100 homeless people from across the country. Nearly 60 percent of the participants had a substance abuse problem. Among youths in homeless shelters, 67 percent were using alcohol and 52 percent were using marijuana. 75 percent of youths who lived on the street were using marijuana, and 26 percent of those were using cocaine.
Addiction can end relationships, lead to loss of employment, and cause people to lose control of their finances. As a result, they may fail to pay their rent or mortgage and lose their homes.
An investigation by the United States Conference of Mayors determined the top causes of homelessness in twenty-two cities. Thirty-five percent of unaccompanied adults cited substance abuse as the main cause of their homelessness. Ten percent of homeless families cited drugs or alcohol.
Financial concerns are closely intertwined with both substance abuse and homelessness. Lack of affordable housing, poverty, and a shortage of jobs can be a factor in homelessness. These same things can also lead to addiction, which can then itself lead to homelessness. People without housing are often unable to take care of their appearance, which can make finding a job difficult. The lack of a permanent address or a telephone number also hinders job seeking. Unfortunately, many shelters turn away homeless people with addictions. Since most of these people have no job and no insurance, finding healthcare and substance abuse treatment can also be difficult. Poor mental and physical health and addiction can all feed each other in a never-ending cycle.
One group with a higher likelihood of both addiction and homelessness is veterans. According to one report, twenty-one percent of veterans in substance abuse programs are homeless, and about seventy percent of homeless veterans also experience a substance use disorder.
There is help available. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration programs that support homeless people, including the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness program, which provides funding to support services for homeless individuals with mental illnesses or substance use disorders. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has resources available for the homeless and those who are at imminent risk of losing their homes. There is also a national project called LEAD, or Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, which seeks to improve public safety while reducing the number of people who are incarcerated. Those people who are arrested for low-level drug offenses may be placed in treatment rather than prosecuted. These programs only apply if the amount of drugs involved is less than three grams and if the person has no intent to distribute. If you need help ending drug or alcohol abuse, contact Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.