Homelessness researcher Dr. Margot Kushel shared insights with PSU, OHSU community
Author: Stefanie Knowlton
Posted: June 25, 2019

Nearly 100 people from Portland State University, Oregon Health & Science University and the community filled a lecture hall to hear Dr. Margot Kushel, director of University of California San Francisco Center for Vulnerable Populations,  talk about her research on homelessness, health and aging.

Listen to her full talk here.

Her message on the root causes of homelessness could not be more clear.

“It’s not the mental health crisis. It’s not the opioid crisis. It’s the affordable housing crisis.”

The United States spends 30% of what it did decades ago on housing assistance. As a result, only one in four families that meet the strick criteria for subsidized housing will receive it. 

“If we want to solve the homelessness problem,” she said, “we need to solve this.”

In addition, discriminiation in lending and property rights against African Americans has led to inequalities that continue to impact the issue today. African Americans are overrepresented in the homelessness population.

“You cannot have any conversations about affordable housing or homelessness in this country,” she said, “and not call out the fact that homelessness is a racial justice issue.”

Kushel also shared her research on health and aging for those experiencing homelessness and solutions to address the homelessness crisis in America.

Kushelleads the National Institute of Health study that developed HOPE HOME (Health Outcomes in Populations Experiencing Homelessness in Older Middle agE), an ongoing longitudinal cohort study examining the causes and effects of homelessness on adults aged 50 and over in Oakland, CA.

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