Homeless with Hepatitis C
Last updated: July 2020
I’ve heard from many people who became homeless while also living with hepatitis C. Some people falsely assume that those who are homeless "have no education", or that they’re "lazy", or have "given up on life". This is far from the truth. Some of you reading this may have similar stories to tell. Often, it boils down to lack of money or security; Many people end up with no medical care and no place to call home. They need help to start over.
There are many reasons why a person might experience homelessness. Some reasons include:
She thought he was the one. Although they talked about marriage someday, they argued a lot. At first she worked, but when she lost her income, he started coming home drunk and angry. After a bad fight that left her with bruises, she had enough. She got up one morning, left everything, and started walking. By night fall, she was asking for a bed in a homeless shelter.
If a person is struggling with addiction, it may have taken over their life. Many times, the desire to quit isn’t enough. A treatment center may be the best roof over someone’s head, especially if they’re homeless and dealing with hepatitis C.
He had just finished paying off his car when he got sick. One day, he nearly passed out at work and got sent home. Within a week, he learned that he had hep C. He put treatment off until after his son was born. By then, he was weak and yellow. He got laid off. There was no money coming in. When they put a letter on his door, he packed his wife and son into the car and headed to see if his parents would take them in.
Mental health challenges
Everyone has problems, but serious mental illness may prevent a person from being able to function. Without other resources or support, some people self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Without work, they can find themselves out on the street.
Having long-term liver disease from Hepatitis C can contribute to homelessness. When a person has fatigue, hepatic encephalopathy, ascites, or jaundice, they can become depressed. Because of illness and low job performance, they may be the first to get laid off. Without health or money, they become homeless.
When two people end a relationship, someone is forced to leave. The type of break up where everything is in boxes in the car is especially painful. In many cases, family or friends may not have the space for an extra person and their stuff. For those with children, it’s even harder.
A little of everything
Maybe one thing led to another, and a person suddenly finds themselves without a home, and all alone. It’s important to find help. Every city has organizations to help provide temporary housing, food, and medical care. Once settled, even a person who was homeless can get hepatitis C treatment assistance.
Homeless with Hepatitis C
If you, or someone you know is homeless with hep C, reach out. Find connections to resources until they can get back on their feet. Don’t judge, but instead, offer to help.