The Intersection of Homelessness, Racism, and Mental Illness

  • Jeffrey OlivetEmail author
  • Marc Dones
  • Molly Richard
Part of the Current Clinical Psychiatry book series (CCPSY)


People of color are dramatically more likely to become homeless in the USA than are their white counterparts. In particular, black and Native Americans experience disproportionately higher rates of homelessness. While this disproportionality has been well documented for decades, national and local responses to homelessness have been slow to approach the problem with attention to racial equity. Additionally, health disparities, particularly in mental health and substance use disorder treatment, complicate potential exits from homelessness for racial and ethnic minorities. This chapter describes the racial dimensions of homelessness with attention to the historical policy decisions that laid the groundwork for contemporary homelessness among people of color. The authors conclude with recommendations for research, practice, and policy.


Homelessness Housing Racism Discrimination Mental health Substance use Minority stress Health equity Public health Public policy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Social InnovationNeedhamUSA

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