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Am Psychol. 1990 Aug;45(8):963-8.

Mental health services for homeless mentally ill persons. Federal initiatives and current service trends.

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  • 1National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville, MD.


Recent research suggests that approximately one third of the population of homeless single adults suffer from severe mental illnesses. Despite multiple health, mental health, and social welfare needs, this population is often unable to obtain necessary housing and community-based services. For this reason, since 1982, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has undertaken a number of federal initiatives to encourage research and assist states and localities in improving services focused on this vulnerable subgroup of the homeless population. This article describes the target population, NIMH research findings, and current mental health service trends--with particular emphasis on two mental health programs established under the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. Proposed future directions for federal research and evaluation efforts in this area are also discussed.

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