here is the question
Imagine yourself as either homeless or incarcerated. Would you be accepting or oppositional to receiving aid during a disaster, including evacuation, sheltering and social services? Why?
here are three different answers, just paraphrase really good one
When disaster strikes the government and aid agencies rush in to help by offering social services, evacuation to safer ground and food aid. The effect of these disasters includes homelessness, spread of diseases, and hunger. As such, people lose their property and means of livelihood and are reduced to seeking help. If I were homeless, I would undoubtedly accept assistance from anybody during a period of disaster, due to being exposed to the disaster and the hard life of homelessness affecting my physical and psychological health.
A homeless person has limited, or no resources, and it is very likely that they have suffered a traumatic experience previously. This means that the disaster responders would come to improve the personâ€™s current situation, although temporarily. They would provide a trauma-informed approach when dealing with the current catastrophe (Wexler, MD, MPH & Smith, MD, MA, 2015). The responders, for example International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), are normally trained for this kind of work; they provide expert care to deal with issues such as denial, shock, and anger. The kind of help that I would expect to receive would be physical safety and emotional and tangible psychological help. My immediate needs would also be addressed as there would be an assured supply of food, shelter and clothing (basic needs). These items would ordinarily be missing or the struggle to access them is as a rule great (Edington, 2018). Therefore, I would gladly accept any kind of help offered to me.
Receiving aid in times of a disaster for a homeless person is a step up from the situation they are in. It would be a well-deserved break from the struggle for staying alive.
Edington, S. (2018). Disaster Planning for People Experiencing Homelessness. Nashville: National Health Care for the Homeless Council. Retrieved from http://www.nhchc.org/disasterplanning.pdf
Wexler, MD, MPH, B., & Smith, MD, MA, M. (2015). Disaster response and people experiencing homelessness: Addressing challenges of a population with limited resources. Journal of Emergency Management, 13(3), 195. doi: 10.5055/jem.2015.0233
To answer this question, we have to consider a variety of circumstances. There are so many to choose from but I will pick a few and try to put myself in the shoes of the individual.
One scenario involves a homeless person who is addicted to drugs and or alcohol. In this situation, the substances may be the root cuase for their need for help with healthcare and other types of assistance. But like any one with an substance abuse problem, they may not want to give up on their drinking. Therefore, they may refuse the help simply becuase they are not ready to quit (arimer, M. E., Malone, D. K., Garner, M. D., Atkins, D. C., Burlingham, B., Lonczak, H. S., … & Marlatt, G. A. 2009). Health care and public service use and costs before and after provision of housing for chronically homeless persons with severe alcohol problems. Jama, 301(13), 1349-1357. Though many services can’t be provided unless the homeless person gives up the substance. There are treatments to offset the effects of withdrawal like methodone to replace heroine, though there still needs to be a detoxification in the body and a mental withdrawal. Alcohol will also not be somethiong that is allowed to be consumed in a hospital or community kitchen.
A mental health issue may also make it very difficult to treat homeless individuals. I recently saw a homeless person who was screaming to himself and hitting himself in the head very very hard. He was absolutely unapproachable from my perspective. I was very sad for him and I still think about him. How could I help? I believed my life could be in some danger if I were to walk over and offer assistance to him. And even if he wasn’t aggressive toward me, could I keep his attention long enough to help him before he abused himself and screamed further? This is of course and extreme case but they do exist and provide us with a great example of how it may be close to impossible to get some individuals to work with us to help them.
There are certainly other cases where there are homeless people who will need and desire assistance. In the early 2000’s, the Veteran’s Hospital fell into great mismanagement and under funding, which also led to many homeless veterans falling through America’s safety net that was placed there for them. Some of these individuals have extreme PTSD and would benefit significantly from medication and therapy (O’toole, T. P., Condeâ€Martel, A., Gibbon, J. L., Hanusa, B. H., & Fine, M. J. 2003). But without the funding, it is a challenge to serve this vulnerable community within the American homeless.
Larimer, M. E., Malone, D. K., Garner, M. D., Atkins, D. C., Burlingham, B., Lonczak, H. S., … & Marlatt, G. A. (2009). Health care and public service use and costs before and after provision of housing for chronically homeless persons with severe alcohol problems. Jama, 301(13), 1349-1357.
O’toole, T. P., Condeâ€Martel, A., Gibbon, J. L., Hanusa, B. H., & Fine, M. J. (2003). Health care of homeless veterans: Why are some individuals falling through the safety net?. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 18(11), 929-933.
As a homeless person, I would accept any help offered to me during disasters since it would ensure my safety and enable me to access necessary assistance. I know that as a homeless person, I am highly predisposed to developing mental and physical illnesses; therefore, accepting help such as evacuation or shelter during a disaster will help lessen some of the challenges I expect to face during such a period. As an inmate, I will be faced with a myriad of challenges, such as poor medical care systems, and overcrowding if a disaster affects the prison in which I am held. This occurrence might cause me to develop health complications. Therefore, if I am offered helped to lessen the impacts of a disaster I would willingly accept such assistance, as it would enhance my physical and psychological well-being.
Despite the federal, local government, and Non-Governmental Organizationsâ€™ (NGOs) efforts to help homeless individuals leave the streets, thousands of homeless persons still live in the streets due to poverty (Ronan, Alisic, Towers, Johnson, & Johnston, 2015). It is difficult to evacuate them during disasters. There is a need to use outreach programs that help homeless individuals to ensure the safe evacuation of this vulnerable population during disasters.
Some homeless people decline assistance because they are afraid of the unknown, due to the stereotypes that are purveyed by members of the society concerning this community, and because they do not want to lose their independence and privacy (Hemingway, Priestley, 2014). Homeless people who accept aid, especially shelter, are forced to live with strangers. Furthermore, shelters have rules that must be strictly adhered to; for instance, no food is allowed from the outside, and curfews are imposed. Although these rules are beneficial, they disrupt and limit the freedom of people hosted in such shelters.
Hemingway, L., & Priestley, M. (2014). Natural hazards, human vulnerability, and disabling societies: a disaster for disabled people? Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, 2(3).
Ronan, K. R., Alisic, E., Towers, B., Johnson, V. A., & Johnston, D. M. (2015). Disaster preparedness for children and families.
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