Through the Eyes of the Homeless’ by SImply Phillip Brown


First of all, it is essential to restate the immense importance of the homeless vulnerable population’s problems. One can hardly doubt that the amount of these issues is considerably vast, and their nature is not limited by health disparities. From the previous papers on the topic, it is evident that the vulnerability of the homeless population in the United States is a complex problem, which involves many contributing factors, both positive and adverse (De Chesnay & Anderson, 2016). For this paper, it was chosen to read “Through the eyes of the homeless” by Simply Phillip Brown. Based on the book under consideration, this paper aims to represent a report of Brown’s interpretation of the problem of homelessness and to include it in the context of a large-scale discussion of the issue.

Observation of the Depicted Population

It is possible to start the discussion with the observation of the chosen population. Even from the title, it is evident that the book by Brown is dedicated to the problems of homeless people. This group is primarily characterized by the lack of a permanent place of habitation, low financial resources due to unemployment, health disparities, and destructive behavioral patterns. All of the discussed characteristics make this population group to be perceived as marginal, and thus the community tends to be prejudiced toward this population. However, the author of the book, employing fictional characters, claims that homeless people are the same human beings as the rest of society (Brown, 2015). The only difference is that these people were less lucky than the others (Brown, 2015).

Factors Contributing to Vulnerability

Among the factors which contribute to the population’s vulnerability, it is possible to mention the following: the inability to access the proper medications and to maintain personal hygiene, the exposure to different dangers of living on the streets, the preconceived attitude from society. The mentioned factors do not limit the full range of the related issues; however, they represent the core aspects of the problem. For example, it is found that the third part of the homeless population cannot access the proper medication for their chronic diseases (Chong et al., 2014).

However, other important factors contribute to the vulnerability. Concerning the mental characteristics, it is possible to observe that many homeless people tend to have depression and other mental disorders, which have an adverse impact on their emotional state (Palar et al., 2015). Being perceived as marginals, homeless people are often not able to find a job or other kinds of support from society. It is also interesting to observe that the chosen vulnerable population shows higher levels of spirituality, which could be reasoned by their desperate conditions (Brown, 2015). It is possible to mention several cultural characteristics of the population: poor education (especially concerning the prevention of diseases and personal hygiene), promotion of destructive behaviors among the group members along judgment from society.

Social Determinants of Health

Further, it is possible to discuss the social determinants of health that influence the chosen group to a significant extent. These factors include such activities as “eating well and staying active, not smoking, getting the recommended immunizations and screening tests and seeing a doctor” (“Social determinants of health”, 2018, para. 1). It is evident that the homeless population does have access to the majority of the mentioned practices. Subsequently, this aspect shapes the health needs of the chosen vulnerable community. They tend to suffer from hunger or low-quality food, and thus they are in need of sufficient nutrition. The lack of immunizations and screening tests leads to the deterioration of health. People might suffer from a particular disease, but they would not have a chance to have a proper diagnosis.

The magnitude of the Problems

Considering the problems of the chosen vulnerable population on a grander scale, it is possible to discuss several contributing aspects. First of all, it should be noted that the problem of homelessness acquired the national scope with over 564 000 people living in the streets, according to the report from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (Koh & O’Connell, 2016, p. 2586). Several studies suggest that the mortality and morbidity among homeless people are excessive (Baggett et al., 2015). It is possible to assume that the significantly high mortality rates are shown in the HIV-infected subsection of the chosen population (Korthuis et al., 2015). Also, the researchers claim that the majority of lethal cases are related to substance and drug abuse (Baggett et al., 2015).

Further, it is essential to dwelling more profoundly upon the discussion of political, economic, social, and environmental factors, which affect the chosen population. It should be mentioned that one of the most significant political problems of the United States, which is revealed in the context of the homeless community, is the insufficient amount of workplaces for less educated people. An immensely prominent economic factor that influences the population is the costs related to healthcare because many people lose their houses due to the inability to pay their insurance. As it was already mentioned, society’s attitude to homeless people tends to be prejudicial, which makes it significantly harder to integrate back into regular social life. The environmental aspect also has a considerable impact on the population since the people who have to live in the streets are exposed to such factors as air pollution.

Brown’s Interpretation of the Problem

First of all, it is essential to notice that Brown (2015) approaches the problem of homelessness in the context of the city’s community. He is describing the history of common people, each of them contributing to society in a particular way. It is interesting that the author does not propose any articulated suggestion to solve the issue under discussion. However, his emotionally charged writing aims to make the reader realize the deviance and abnormality of a contemptuous attitude toward homeless people. One can assume that if every person changed his mind in the described manner, it would be a lot easier to solve the problem of homelessness.

Also, it is important to express my perspective of the author’s aim of writing the book. In my opinion, he had the purpose of creating an emotionally and artistically moving work rather than concise research. As was already mentioned, there are no explicit calls to action or direct suggestions about the solution to the problem. However, the author managed to impose a significantly deep impression on me through his writing. It is possible that it was his primary goal – to make a reader share the emotional pain of a person who is experiencing homelessness.

Proposition for Program Implementation

Further, it is possible to propose a program, which would benefit the issues of the homeless population. It could be suggested that one of the better strategies that could be implemented is the community-research partnership’s strategy (Bonevski et al., 2014). This policy was mentioned in one of the preceding papers, and it would be appropriate to dwell upon it more profoundly. First of all, this program would change society’s attitude to homeless people. Since the research will be community-based, it will involve a considerable amount of people in the discussion of the homelessness problem. Secondly, with the help of mass media and social marketing, it is possible to reach an even broader range of people, including policy- and lawmakers, public authorities, and health professionals (Bonevski et al., 2014). Using the channels of social media, it is possible to educate the mentioned people in power about the problems of the chosen vulnerable population because it would be easier to spread information. In the implementation of such a program, it is essential to consider the population’s desire to change their condition (which is a positive factor) as well as the lack of education, especially in mass media technologies (which could affect adversely).


In conclusion, it is possible to assume that this report was broad enough to consider several fundamental aspects of the homelessness problem. Numerous adverse and positive factors were discussed to understand the problem on a large scale. A very important source that was employed was the book by SImply Phillip Brown, which served as an artistic expression of the problem’s critical aspects, such as the society’s unconcern. Based on the conducted analysis, a strategy for the improvement of the current state was proposed.


Baggett, T. P., Chang, Y., Singer, D. E., Porneala, B. C., Gaeta, J. M., O’Connell, J. J., & Rigotti, N. A. (2015). Tobacco-, alcohol-, and drug-attributable deaths and their contribution to mortality disparities in a cohort of homeless adults in Boston. American Journal of Public Health, 105(6), 1189-1197.

Bonevski, B., Randell, M., Paul, C., Chapman, K., Twyman, L., Bryant, J.,… Hughes, C. (2014). Reaching the hard-to-reach: A systematic review of strategies for improving health and medical research with socially disadvantaged groups. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 14(42), 1-29.

Brown, S. P. (2015). Through the eyes of the homeless. Web.

De Chesnay, M., & Anderson, B. (Eds.). (2016). Caring for the vulnerable: Perspectives in nursing theory, practice and research (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Koh, H. K., & O’Connell, J. J. (2016). Improving health care for homeless people. JAMA, 316(24), 2586-2587.

Korthuis, P. T., McGinnis, K. A., Kraemer, K. L., Gordon, A. J., Skanderson, M., Justice, A. C.,… & Fiellin, L. E. (2015). Quality of HIV care and mortality rates in HIV-infected patients. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 62(2), 233-239.

Palar, K., Kushel, M., Frongillo, E. A., Riley, E. D., Grede, N., Bangsberg, D., & Weiser, S. D. (2015). Food insecurity is longitudinally associated with depressive symptoms among homeless and marginally-housed individuals living with HIV. AIDS and Behavior, 19(8), 1527-1534.

Social determinants of health. (2018). Web.