According to an annual census, the homeless population in Houston has dropped since 2011. For those still on the streets, collaborations between organizations like Legacy, The Montrose Center, and Healthcare for the Homeless are essential.
By Barrett White
“Social determinants of health” might be a mouthful to say, but it’s a term we should all be familiar with. It refers to the social surroundings that a person experiences, which can have an effect on their health. Rather than thinking of health as simply “sick” or “healthy,” focusing on social determinants of health can help communities understand how other, broader issues might affect health outcomes.
One such issue that Legacy helps to address is homelessness.
For the chronically homeless, keeping up with health care can be incredibly difficult, especially if medication is needed to manage other health conditions. Medication that may not require refrigeration will likely be required to be kept at “room temperature” – or in other words, not outside in the Texas heat. The outdoor Houston temperature and humidity has the potential to render some medications useless.
For homeless diabetics, insulin must be refrigerated until open, and can be at room temperature for 28 days after opened. However, other injectable non-insulin products for diabetes such as Ozempic, Trulicity, Byetta and others must be refrigerated. Without access to refrigeration or a climate controlled home, homelessness could threaten not only the overall health of diabetic individuals, but their lives.
Houston has worked hard to combat chronic homelessness among its residents, and according to several reports, the work is paying off – but that doesn’t mean the work is done. One way that Legacy aims to help the homeless population in Houston is by teaming up with The Montrose Center and Healthcare for the Homeless Houston.
On Monday, August 5, Legacy began collecting donations across all sites as part of the collaboration in honor of National Health Center Week. These donations include hygiene essentials like socks, razors, wet wipes, soaps, shampoo and conditioner, and toothpaste. Also acceptable is nonperishable food items, such as granola, apple sauce, bottled water, and plastic utensils. Legacy will be collecting donations throughout the month of August at all locations, including non-clinical sites.