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What the Health is Ecology of Homelessness?!

From heat waves to natural disasters, severe weather poses increased challenges for people experiencing homelessness. In the latest MCH Bridges podcast from the Association of Maternal and Child Health Program (AMCHP), Abt’s Lisa Brooks shares her insights and expertise on how climate change is affecting homelessness response systems.

In the discussion, Brooks reminds listeners that systems are already overtaxed and under-resourced, and climate change exacerbates their day-to-day abilities to serve clients. Says Brooks, “Many times providers within the homelessness system don't have preparedness planning baked into their normal [protocols] and daily work, and/or they may have a great plan, but they don't actually have the tools, the resources and the capacity to enact that plan.”

Additionally, Brooks explains that climate, health, and housing are linked, and the combined impact is best understood by people with lived experience. “It is absolutely essential,” she says, “to make space and share power with people with lived experience…when we’re thinking about working with people with lived experience, we’re recognizing that BIPOC folks are the most likely to experience homelessness, particularly Black and brown communities, and LGBTQ+ youth, [it’s] just absolutely essential to be partnering with them” when devising solutions.

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