by Noëlle Porter
Schizophrenia affects a little more than 1 percent of the U.S. population, but it’s much more prevalent among homeless persons. Estimates are wide ranging, but some go as high as 20 percent of the homeless population. That’s thousands of people living with schizophrenia and experiencing homelessness each day.
Nearly 10 million Americans suffer from a severe mental illness (SMI) – schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or severe depression. Schizophrenia is generally the most stigmatized of these three disorders, and can be the most burdensome. The symptoms, which include hallucinations, delusions and sometimes incoherent speech patterns, often make it difficult for people with the disorder to maintain relationships, access treatment, or keep employment or housing.