Climate Change for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness: Recommendations for Improving Policy, Research, and Services

Allison Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Across the globe, communities are facing unprecedented environmental challenges in many cases because of climate change. The increase in urbanization, the movement of people from rural communities relocating into urban areas, the issue of population density, and a rise in extreme weather are all contributing to these challenges. Although natural and manmade disasters have always existed, the increase in urbanization as a result of the movement of people into urban areas, the resulting increase in population density, and a rise in frequency of extreme weather events are factors that contribute to these challenges. There is a growing field of evidence that individuals experiencing homelessness are disproportionately impacted by disasters due to factors such as exposure to the elements, lack of resources and services, as well as disenfranchisement, and stigma associated with homelessness, all while experiencing greater occurrences of environmental injustice. The shrinking support for funding such services, increasing income inequality between classes, and cultural justifications for criminalizing poverty and homelessness contribute to our collective understanding of disaster vulnerability when experiencing homelessness. Given that there are distinct needs for individuals experiencing homelessness when affected by disasters, this article proposes recommendations for improving policy, research, and services to address these disparities. Trends in income inequality and homelessness have serious implications for planning and response, and recovery from natural or manmade disasters. As such, there is a need to periodically review progress, identify current gaps and unmet needs, and identify opportunities for improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-163
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Justice
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Keywords

  • advocacy
  • climate change
  • disaster
  • environmental justice
  • homelessness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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