Navigation Links
Public Libraries Turning into Shelters for the Homeless in the US

As the problem of the chronically homeless mounts in the US, the public libraries in that country are slowly turning into de facto daytime shelters. //

In bad weather -- hot, cold, or wet -- most of the homeless have nowhere to go but public places.

The local shelters push them out onto the streets at six in the morning and, even when the weather is good, they are already lining up by nine, when the library opens, because they want to sit down and recover from the chilly dawn or use the restrooms.

There are at least 200,000 people across the nation living more or less permanently on the street, enough to fill a thousand public libraries every day.

Worse most of the "chronically homeless" are mentally ill, say activists.

The published data on how many homeless are considered mentally ill varies widely from 10% to 70%, depending on whether all the homeless, or just the chronically homeless, are included. And how does one categorize alcoholics and drug addicts is another question.

It's a chicken-or-egg world for the mentally-ill homeless. Are they on the street because they are immobilized by severe depression or is deep depression the consequence of being on the street?

Any tendency towards a psychological problem is aggravated and magnified by the constant stress, social isolation, loss of self-esteem, despair, and relentless boredom of street life.

Imagine the degradation of waiting an hour in the cold rain to get into a soup kitchen for a meal; the hassle of hunting endlessly for an unpoliced spot to sleep; the constant fear of being robbed or attacked by other street people; or the indignity of defecating in a vacant lot.

It's a combination that would probably drive a mentally healthy person to psychosis and substance abuse. Street people, who suffer serious psychological disorders, are often substance abusers, too.

In such a backdrop the publi c libraries have come to play a significant role in the life of a mass of disoriented people. That in turn makes the librarians the guardians of the underdogs. So now calls are emanating to equip the librarians with adequate knowledge of handling emergency situations involving the danger-prone mentally ill among the vagrants.

The librarians have to take care of the homeless who troop in once the library opens and have to take care of them. If they pass out, other authorities have to be alerted. Many times librarians also act as counselors.

And when they interact closely with the homeless who might suffer from a variety of diseases, librarians themselves become vulnerable.

Chip Ward, who recently retired as the assistant director of the Salt Lake City Public Library System, notes, ”We offer our staff hepatitis vaccinations and free tuberculosis checks. We place sanitizing gels and latex gloves at every public desk. Who would guess that working in a library could be a hazardous occupation?”

There is hope, however. After decades of studies by various task forces, followed by experiments by local governments, a consensus has emerged that the most effective way to help chronically homeless people is to stabilize them in housing first and then offer treatment.

Social scientists and policy-makers have concluded, logically enough, that it is hard to "get better" while living in a stressful, demeaning, and unstable environment and easier to recover when one feels safe and secure.

The Salt Lake County, like some other local governments, has created a ten-year plan to end homelessness based on housing-first principles. The wheel of reform is moving slowly, however, and many people who need help now will suffer and die on the street before things can turn their way (if they ever actually do), says Chip Ward. /

Related medicine news :

1. WHO To Support Public Health Threats
2. Public Defibrillators Found To Improve Survival Rate
3. FDA Issues Public Health Advisory on Tysabri, a New Drug for MS
4. WHO Steps Up To Create A Public Awareness About The Consequences Of Exposure To Radon
5. Disaster Planning Guide From Harvard Health Publications
6. India to maintain Public domain Registry database of clinical trials conducted in India.
7. Smoking Ban Believed To Enjoy Widespread Public Acceptance In Scotland
8. Evidences that Better Health Care Facility is Offered By Public Hospitals.
9. Defibrillators In Public Places Will Help Cardiac Patients
10. Sex Education, Need Of The Hour In Public Schools
11. UK Doctors Fear Shortages Could Hit Public Health Drive
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... CBD College ... of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) awarded accreditation to its Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. ... accredited colleges, as only one of twelve colleges and universities in the state of ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Avid collector, Andrew Hawley from Vintage Rock Posters, ... posters. This is one of Joplin's most famous and beautiful concert posters. The concert ... Michigan in Ann Arbor. The According to Hawley, "It is hard to believe that ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 26, 2015 , ... Inevitably when people think Thanksgiving, they also think Holiday ... the Black Friday and Cyber Monday massage chair sales to receive the ... and low to find the best massage chair deals, they can see all of ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... to discuss bioavailability and the need to integrate dose form selection in early ... with OBN, the membership organization supporting and bringing together the UK’s emerging life ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... WorldCare International, Inc., the ... 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted by the ... Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii Convention Center ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... of a Biologics License Application (BLA) with ... Administration (FDA) for ABP 501, a biosimilar candidate to ... the first adalimumab biosimilar application submitted to the FDA ... biosimilar pathway. Sean E. Harper , M.D., ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... AAIPharma Services Corp./Cambridge Major Laboratories, Inc. ... $15.8  Million to expand its laboratories and global ... The expansion will provide additional office space and ... of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology markets. ... up to 40,000 square feet of expanded development ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015  Henry Schein, Inc., the world,s ... office-based dental, medical and animal health practitioners, will unveil ... Henry Schein ConnectDental® Pavilion , which brings together ... open solutions designed to help any practice or laboratory ... for a schedule of experts appearing at the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: