[EDITORIAL] Homes are the best medicine
Philadelphia’s own Sister Mary Scullion, who knows as much about fighting homelessness as anyone, wasn’t surprised by a recent finding that 76% of people living on the street in Los Angeles also live with serious mental illness, addiction, or other conditions. Scullion, the cofounder of Philly’s Project HOME, estimates that about 90% of the 1,000 people living on the street in this city also are living with addiction, mental health issues, or both. And simply having a home, she says, can help people overcome such challenges.
City officials say the experience of homelessness can worsen mental health and substance abuse disorder, and complicate treatment. It’s difficult to avoid using when the person sharing your makeshift tent is doing so. As Liz Hersh, director of Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services, observed: How can someone take their antidepressants or addiction treatment meds if they don’t have a pill case or a safe place to keep them?