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Primary Cause and Effect of Homelessness are Substance Use Disorders

January 6, 2022

Substance abuse is frequently the cause of homelessness, which only exacerbates untreated mental health issues, and is a growing concern.  Most statistics reveal that substance abuse is much more common among the homeless population, than that of the general population.  As reported by SAMHSA, “Over 80% have experienced lifetime alcohol and/or drug problems.”  However, much more concrete numbers are needed to adequately assess the severity of the extreme crisis at hand.


In 2019, The LA Times examined over 4,000 questionnaires, and revealed that approximately 76% of individuals living on the streets, reported to be or were observed to be, affected with substance abuse, mental health issues, a physical disability or poor health. Yet The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which administers the yearly count, assessed the data to generate significantly lower numbers.


In its presentation of the results to elected officials two years ago, the agency stated that only 29% of the homeless population had either a mental illness or substance abuse disorder.  While The LA Times determined that about 67% had either a mental illness or a substance abuse disorder. Individually, substance abuse affects 46% of those who are homeless, which equates to over three times more than what was previously reported; mental illness, including PTSD, affects 51% of those living on the streets, according to the analysis. (Source: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-10-07/homeless-population-mental-illness-disability). Much more needs to be done and known, to productively help our homeless across our city and the world, with addiction, mental health, and housing needs.  

Here in Las Vegas, our homeless community is also plagued with extreme heat, which intensifies their undiagnosed mental health concerns and hydration, along with the constant temptations that are unique to Sin City.  That’s where Vegas Stronger comes into play, which offers a concrete solution to the homeless epidemic. We are a unique Nonprofit Organization, strategically located just steps away from the major tent cities in our community.  Our one-of-a-kind rehab facility is a SAPTA Certified Clinic, and works from our customized “6 Point Plan,” to solve the city’s homeless crisis, which implements our “13 Point Treatment System.”  

To learn more about our customized care, visit: https://vegasstronger.org/about-us/13-essential-elements/.

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