Can We Prevent Deaths of Homeless Persons? Police Led Public Health Approach to Prevent Homeless Deaths

Natalie Kroovand Hipple, Sarah J. M. Shaefer, Robert F. Hipple, Jr., Alfarena T. Ballew
Publication Date
2016
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From: Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless

Research on homeless populations demonstrates that homelessness in itself is an independent risk factor for death. However, there is a dearth of detailed data on homeless decedents and the situations surrounding their deaths. This lack of knowledge, a desire to understand how and why homeless individuals were dying, and a sentinel event death led the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Homelessness and Panhandling Unit to partner with a local researcher and begin conducting homeless death reviews. The approach is modeled after the evidence-based, public health approach of the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review process (FIMR). The FIMR model is a systematic approach to understanding system gaps and obtaining insights into the factors that resulted in homelessness and ultimately death. This article reports on the process to develop this unique multi-agency, police-led review of homeless deaths in Indianapolis, Indiana and resulting recommendations for action to decrease these deaths.