Environmental Effects on The Homeless


This year Earth Day falls on April 20-22. Climate change greatly affects the homeless population. Homeless people will be affected by heat waves, air pollution, severe floods and storms. 


The Problems Homeless People Face

The homeless are also at an increased risk of danger due to their exposure to the elements. With homeless people having to seek shelter outside usually under freeways, in forests and other public places, they are at an increased risk of danger. 


Most recently, the homeless in Texas suffered through the polar vortex that devastated Texans and left many without power and water for days. For those that had to endure the elements from within their homes, there were accounts of death from frigid temperatures. Imagine having to seek shelter outdoors during that storm. For many of Texas’s homeless, that is just what they did. 


With an increased risk of inclement weather, the climate arguably affects homeless people the most. On top of all that, the homeless are usually people with underlying diseases and health issues. While having these issues they also are in more urban areas which means that they suffer greatly from diseases associated with being in urban areas. 


While some homeless people sleep in shelters or other similar living conditions, there are a subgroup of people that live in condition that are not meant for human habitation. 


With climate change projected to increase temperatures, especially in the summer months. Homeless people face the struggle of being able to stay hydrated and safe during summer heat waves. Having to stay in the elements during these months also poses long term health issues like skin cancer due to prolonged sun exposure and inadequate protection from UV rays. 


Increased air pollution poses a big risk to the homeless as well. With a study noting that an increase in air pollution would lead to an increased cardiovascular and respiratory mortality rate. 


The same study noted that floods account for 40% of all natural disaster damage and injury. With floods also being the most frequent natural disaster, they also pose a grave danger to the homeless population. While floods largely displace housed people, the homeless population is overlooked when it comes to making sure that housing areas are safe from flooding. It is crucial that through earth day efforts we take action to support the homeless population through flood disasters. 


Homelessness is an environmental issue and something that everyone needs to pitch in to fix. This earth day and every day after, seek ways to help the plant. 


How You Can Help

This Earth Day, consider adopting a plant based diet that will affect the earth less. You could also look for takeout options with biodegradable packaging instead of plastic packaging. When thinking about purchasing a new car, consider an electric option instead of a car that requires fossil fuels. 


There are so many ways that we all can help the planet in small ways that add up to big amounts. In order to reach sustainable earth goals, it is going to take all of us. The homeless population is at an  especially increased risk and needs our help. 


Written By: Analisa Flores


Tags: Earth Day, Environment, Homeless


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