Homelessness is a continuing challenge facing the U.S. A point-in-time survey in 2013 estimated about 610,042 people were homeless nationally on a given night, and of those, about 8,200 were located in Maryland. Morbidity and mortality rates are higher among those experiencing homelessness than for housed individuals. Physical and mental health conditions may develop and worsen through exposure to communicable disease, malnutrition, weather exposure, and violence while living in shelters or on the street. Stresses and challenges, including lack of access to medical care, comorbid physical and mental health problems, stigma toward homeless people, involvement in the criminal justice system, and traumatic experiences and safety concerns may lead to the development of or exacerbate existing health conditions and substance abuse problems.
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