Division of Mental Health Services Research, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
American Journal of Public Health
This journal article examines civil legal needs among people experiencing homelessness and the extent to which medical-legal partnerships exist in homeless service sites, which promote the integration of civil legal aid professionals into health care settings. A national sample of 48 homeless service sites across 26 states was surveyed in November 2015. The survey asked about needs, attitudes, and practices related to civil legal issues, including medical-legal partnerships. More than 90 percent of the homeless service sites reported that their patients experienced at least one civil legal issue, particularly around housing, employment, and health insurance. Only half of all sites reported screening patients for civil legal issues, and only 10 percent had a medical-legal partnership. Sites that served homeless youth and had received previous training on legal screening were more likely to have a medical-legal partnership. The large majority of sites reported interest in receiving training on screening for civil legal issues and development medical-legal partnerships. There is great need and potential to deploy civil legal services in health settings to serve unstably housed populations. Training homeless service providers how to screen for civil legal issues and how to develop medical-legal partnerships would better equip them to provide comprehensive care. (Author Abstract Modified)
Available by subscription or purchase on the journal website: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303596.