Special Issue "Substance Use, Mental Health, and Other Issues Related to Homelessness: Building the Evidence for Best Practices to End Housing Instability"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Mental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Lianne A. Urada
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Social Work, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-4119, USA
Interests: women's health; empowerment; homelessness; HIV; human trafficking; sex trade; sexual exploitation; historical community trauma; substance use

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Homelessness and housing insecurity have peaked globally in the past decade. As many as 1.6 billion people live in inadequate housing (United Nations, 2020). Many communities worldwide are affected by economic crises, natural disasters, and poverty and discrimination, which are often the root causes of homelessness. The opioid use crisis and lack of supportive systems and policies for mental health disabilities have led to millions living on the street, especially in large metropolitan cities such as in the United States.

Homelessness is not a new condition, but issues such as opioid overdose, skyrocketing housing prices, and unemployment resulting from COVID-19 have recently exacerbated it. How societies address homelessness often depends on the political will of the people in power to change it.  Those at high risk for housing instability are often foster and runaway youth with little family support, older adults and veterans with mental health and medical conditions, survivors of human trafficking and intimate partner violence, and low-income families with children. Substance use and mental health instability can lead to homelessness, but homelessness also creates new trauma and drug addiction. Interventions within public spaces such as libraries for those unstably housed or low barrier access to medications for opioid use disorder are some strategies undergoing evaluation.

This Special Issue welcomes papers from any discipline that help to build evidence for tackling the ongoing and escalating homelessness crisis.

Dr. Lianne Urada
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • homelessness
  • substance use
  • mental health
  • opioid use
  • trauma
  • housing
  • risk environment
  • public health crisis
  • community intervention
  • behavioral intervention

Published Papers (1 paper)

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The Association of Interpersonal Relationships and Social Services with the Self-Rated Health of Spanish Homelessness
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(17), 9392; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18179392 - 06 Sep 2021
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Understanding the specific factors associated with poor health is critical to improve the health of homeless people. This study aimed to analyze the influence of personal variables, interpersonal relationships, and the influence of social services on the health of homeless people. A secondary [...] Read more.
Understanding the specific factors associated with poor health is critical to improve the health of homeless people. This study aimed to analyze the influence of personal variables, interpersonal relationships, and the influence of social services on the health of homeless people. A secondary analysis was applied to cross-sectional data from a sample of 1382 homeless people living in the Basque Country (Spain) (75.69% male). Multinomial logistic regression modelling was used to analyze the relationship between health and personal variables, interpersonal variables, perceived help and use of the social services. Relationships with the family, using a day center, and a sufficient and high perceived help of the social services were significant factors associated with good health. On the other hand, spending the day alone or using mental and health care services are associated with poor health. In the same way, the longer a person has been homeless, the worse their expected state of health is. Addressing housing exclusion, promoting interpersonal relationships, using a day center, and developing the use and perceived helpfulness of social services stand out as key factors in improving health status. Social policies are usually focused on housing. However, this paper also highlights the relevance of developing interpersonal relationships and using day centers to improve homeless people’s health. Full article
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