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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Libraries and Homelessness

Libraries on the front lines of the homelessness crisis in the United States

The Conversation | August 18, 2015

Libraries are increasingly a sanctuary for people who are homeless or mentally ill. We wondered how libraries function on the front lines of social service provision.
Prevalence of homelessness in the United States
On any given night in 2014, over half a million people in the United States found themselves without a home. While the majority of these people (69%) secured shelter for the night, many shelters do not provide daytime accommodations for their patrons. This leaves many in search of daytime activity and protection from the elements.

<more at (The Prevalence of Mental Disorders among the Homeless in Western Countries: Systematic Review and Meta-Regression Analysis. Seena Fazel, Vivek Khosla, Helen Doll, John Geddes. Published: December 2, 2008DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050225. [Abstract: Background. There are well over a million homeless people in Western Europe and North America, but reliable estimates of the prevalence of major mental disorders among this population are lacking. We undertook a systematic review of surveys of such disorders in homeless people. Methods and Findings. We searched for surveys of the prevalence of psychotic illness, major depression, alcohol and drug dependence, and personality disorder that were based on interviews of samples of unselected homeless people. We searched bibliographic indexes, scanned reference lists, and corresponded with authors. We explored potential sources of any observed heterogeneity in the estimates by meta-regression analysis, including geographical region, sample size, and diagnostic method. Twenty-nine eligible surveys provided estimates obtained from 5,684 homeless individuals from seven countries. Substantial heterogeneity was observed in prevalence estimates for mental disorders among the studies (all Cochran's χ2 significant at p < 0.001 and all I2 > 85%). The most common mental disorders were alcohol dependence, which ranged from 8.1% to 58.5%, and drug dependence, which ranged from 4.5% to 54.2%. For psychotic illness, the prevalence ranged from 2.8% to 42.3%, with similar findings for major depression. The prevalence of alcohol dependence was found to have increased over recent decades. Conclusions. Homeless people in Western countries are substantially more likely to have alcohol and drug dependence than the age-matched general population in those countries, and the prevalences of psychotic illnesses and personality disorders are higher. Models of psychiatric and social care that can best meet these mental health needs requires further investigation.] and (How libraries became the front line of America’s homelessness crisis. They are destinations "for people who have no place to go." August 19, 2015)>

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