Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences


Public Health


Homelessness is a perpetual problem occurring in society. With a lack of competency of either government institutions or private establishments to provide the required intervention to provide shelter and aid for the existing homeless population or to prevent further homelessness; the next best objective would be to keep this population healthy, by employing hygiene interventions. However, there is a serve lack in hygiene interventions as well. A few US cities and many counties abroad have begun to research and implement strategies for sanitary intervention in homeless hygiene in hopes that if they are unable to “cure” homelessness, then they can at least keep the homeless healthy.

Maintaining hygienic environments within the homeless population is a significant dilemma that extends beyond just ensuring that the physical hygiene of the individual is adequate, but to comprehending the effect that the environment in which they live, has on their mental and emotional status. Cities such as San Diego have established hand washing stations to lower the risk of spreading Hepatitis A (Hep A) from the use of dirty water or unsterile needles and injection sites. Sidewalk and street cleaning with chlorine infused power washer were also implemented, to assist in hindering the Hep A outbreak. In addition to these multiple hand washing stations, portable toilets and hygiene kits were also supplied in the particularly in the downtown areas which have a higher homeless population. As a result, San Diego achieved great success using their sanitation interventions to effectively combat the immediate health crisis of the Hep A surge. However, there is continued need to address the problem of homelessness in the city. San Francisco is another city that is utilizing mobile showers to give back a sense of dignity to its homeless population and as a first step to mitigate the cycle of homelessness.

This paper is a review of the effectiveness of these interventions to determine whether they can be expanded past the initial and immediate use of quilling outbreaks and providing basic hygiene in homeless population, into a more consistent and sustainable bridge to improving the more intrapersonal components of homeless individuals.

The primary goal of this analysis is to provide an education on the current condition of this crisis and to encourage a discussion on how to better develop interventions for the homeless populations in large urban cities much like Philadelphia. With this information, a theoretical strategy can be outlined for cities with large urban population, where homeless intervention seems to be lacking.

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