How Community Health Nurses Can Support Homeless Populations in Boston


Homelessness is a global issue affecting millions of people around the world. It is estimated that about 2% or approximately 154 million of the world’s population are homeless (Branon, 2019). In reality, the number could be bigger than the data indicates. This problem affects both races, ethnic groups, genders, and ages, and society should find solutions to factors that make individuals homeless. In Boston, nurses are providing healthcare services to many homeless people in the streets; through a team of clinicians in about 35 locations within the city.

Resources Available for the Homeless in Boston

Boston medics are using education programs that include integrating the homeless into, nursing, and social work school curricula, where nurses participate in regular shelter clinics for the homeless. Other training efforts involve the prevention of communicable disease outbreaks in crowded shelters, using manuals. The team has also developed innovative ways to reach out to the needs of migrants and homeless workers who fear seeking medical care because they might lose their daily wages (Reale, 2021). This method ensures that a primary care team moves around the city, and holds weekly clinics for those who cannot move from where they are based.

Gaps in Provision of Services to the Homeless

Several organizations, ranging from churches to local governments, have been trying to eradicate the issue of homelessness in Boston. They have in the recent past offered services like housing expenses assistance, food pantries, medical care, as well as transitional housing (Martin & Jacobs, 2019). Despite these efforts, there are gaps that still hinder proper services, especially the housing to the homeless individuals. Firstly, funding for programs meant to help the homeless is inadequate. Secondly, the housing programs, including renting in many parts of the United States, are very expensive and beyond the reach of many poor people.

Policies that May Affect the Homeless

There are some city policies and laws that criminalize homelessness. One in eight people who were apprehended in Boston in 2020 was homeless. Further, about 13% of the total number of people arrested in 2019, up from 10% in 2016 (McCool et al., 2020) were homeless. Nurses who work with homeless people do think a lot and can use the critical thinking skills gained to find unconventional solutions that will ultimately strengthen their leadership and organization structures.

How Nurses Can Improve Factors Contributing to Homelessness

The first step to improving the lives of the homeless is to screen them to get gaps in their care needs. Next is to develop a care plan in collaboration with social workers to help manage and provide the best possible care to these groups of people. The nurse is in a key position to participate in decision making, which can change the plight of the homeless (Martin & Jacobs, 2019). Lastly, nurses can render their voice in advocating for equity for homeless people.


Boston medics are using education and training programs on the prevention of communicable diseases outbreaks where nurses and social work students participate in regular shelter clinics for the homeless. Despite the efforts from many organizations to solve the problem of homelessness, several gaps like lack of funds and expensive costs of housing still exist. Nurses can help improve services for homeless people by participating in policy formulations.


Branon, A. (2019). Homelessness statistics reveal a problem that’s bigger than us, but not beyond solving. Impact. Web.

Reale, H. (2021). Boston’s homeless services see new reach under pandemic induced changes. GBH. Web.

Martin, S., & Jacobs, J. (2019). Faced with gaps in services for the homeless, local agencies see need for more resources, new solutions. The Virginia Gazette. Web.

McCool, N., Arellano, N., & Mulvihill, M. (2020). For the homeless in Boston and beyond, laws can criminalize life itself. Globe correspondents. Web.

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