Intended for healthcare professionals

Editor's Choice

In search of a good nanny

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i6565 (Published 08 December 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6565

Why are so many people homeless?

The world is full of homeless people. They live in hospitals, prisons, shelters, shacks, and on the street. We try not to think about these people, because they remind us that our lives are not that secure. We assume that homeless people are derelicts who don't care about themselves, but this is not true. Homeless people are professionals, average people, senior citizens, and runaway teens, who are often helpless to change their situation.

Homelessness is often the end result of malnutrition and addiction. As people become homeless, their diet and their addictions become worse. Homelessness and addiction are a vicious cycle that society can't correct. It's ironic that society promotes the sale of addictive substances but ignores the consequences of addiction. Society must choose between human health and economic health. Society must choose between an economy based on nutrition and health, and an economy based on addiction and sickness.

Competing interests: No competing interests

09 December 2016
Hugh Mann
Physician
Retired
New York, NY, USA