Miami (Florida) is often referred to as one of the most beautiful places in the world. The city is famous for the balance of urban architecture and beautiful nature. The people living in the city mainly pertain to the middle and upper-middle class, although some underprivileged groups were identified during the windshield survey. This paper includes the assessment of the most vulnerable population identified (African American homeless people). Such aspects as risk factors, strengths, barriers, community resources, as well as a community health problem, are covered in this paper.
Vulnerable Population Overview
Homeless people can be regarded as one of the most vulnerable populations in Miami. During the windshield survey, it was found that the vast majority of homeless people were African Americans. The observed people had explicit signs of mental health problems. Many of them were drunk, and all of them wore rags. Historically, African Americans were one of the most underprivileged groups due to a high level of racism and discrimination in American society (Noonan, Velasco-Mondragon, & Wagner, 2016). It is clear that segregation that ceased to exist in the middle of the 20th century still has an influence on the society and the group in question. African Americans have few employment and educational opportunities, limited access to healthcare services, they often have to agree to lower salaries as compared to the white population.
Strengths, Risk Factors, and Barriers
Homeless people are regarded as the most vulnerable population as they face many health hazards, have limited funds, have limited access to healthcare services, do not have access to information about available programs and services (Nies & McEwen, 2015). Unhealthy diets and lifestyles, improper life conditions, as well as being under constant stress, results in the development of a variety of disorders. Homeless people often develop such disorders as bartonellosis and suffer from human lice (Bonilla, Cole-Porse, Kjemtrup, Osikowicz, & Kosoy, 2014). Noonan et al. (2016) state that African Americans (especially those who have no homes) often develop cardiovascular disorders. Cancer is another common cause of death among this population. The spread of HIV and AIDS among homeless African Americans is rather alarming. Alcoholism and mental issues are also common (Upshur, Weinreb, & Bharel, 2014).
It is necessary to note that the African American population’s mortality rate has decreased slightly (Noonan et al., 2016). However, this trend is hardly visible among homeless African Americans. The major barriers to having better health include limited access to healthcare services and information about available programs, a high rate of violence, a lack of resources, and low chances of employment. Homeless people often suffer from alcoholism and mental issues that can be regarded as ways to escape from reality. At that, these issues are also significant barriers to improving their conditions.
The windshield survey, as well as brief online research, revealed a gap in public health services. It is clear that there are limited community resources for the population in question. Camillus Health Concern, Inc. is a healthcare facility providing healthcare services to homeless people (Florida Department of Health, 2017). This is the only large specialized facility in the area.
There are also various non-profit organizations, but they are quite small and have a limited capacity. Noonan et al. (2016) claim that the Affordable Care Act of 2010 was beneficial for homeless people and specifically those at risk of losing homes. However, the benefits for homeless people are inadequate and cannot be regarded as sufficient. The community services are scarce and inadequate as the number of homeless people is quite significant, whereas the number of facilities addressing the needs of these people is limited.
Community Health Problem Diagnosis
As has been mentioned above, alcoholism is a common and alarming health issue among the population in question. Community health nurses can make a difference and help in reaching one of the objectives of Healthy People 2020. The objective is SA-15, which is the reduction “the proportion of adults who drank excessively in the previous 30 days” (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2017). Community health nurses can educate homeless people concerning available programs and facilities, helping vulnerable populations. The provision of this information can encourage homeless people to use available services and even improve their conditions. Clearly, it is also essential to provide psychological and emotional support to homeless African Americans who are often depressed and suicidal.
The windshield survey and online search unveiled one of the most vulnerable populations in Miami (Florida). Homeless African Americans have more health issues than other groups. Homeless African American people still have limited access to employment, education, and even healthcare services. The major health issues this population faces include cardiovascular disorders, cancer, HIV/AIDS, mental issues, and alcoholism. The community health nurse can help these people achieve one of the objectives of Healthy People 2020 (related to the reduction of alcoholic beverages consumption). Nursing professionals can provide information on available resources and provide psychological and emotional support, which will be beneficial for the population in question.
Bonilla, D. L., Cole-Porse, C., Kjemtrup, A., Osikowicz, L., & Kosoy, M. (2014). Risk factors for human lice and bartonellosis among the homeless, San Francisco, California, USA. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 20(10), 1645-1651.
Florida Department of Health. (2017). Community health centers.
Nies, M. A., & McEwen, M. (2015). Community/public health nursing: Promoting the health of populations. St. Louis, MO: Saunders/Elsevier.
Noonan, A., Velasco-Mondragon, H., & Wagner, F. (2016). Improving the health of African Americans in the USA: An overdue opportunity for social justice. Public Health Reviews, 37(1).
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2017). Substance abuse.
Upshur, C. C., Weinreb, L., & Bharel, M. (2014). Homeless women and hazardous drinking: Screening results in a primary health care setting. The American Journal on Addictions, 23(2), 117-122.