A Silent Struggle: Mental Health and Housing Stability

Stereotypes and stigma aren’t an answer to homelessness; they’re a barrier to overcome.

Did you know? Approximately 20-30% of Americans experiencing homelessness live with a serious mental illness, compared to just 4-6% of the general population.


As we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month this May, there’s no better time to shine a light on the reality of health and housing. Mental illness can be both a cause and consequence of homelessness, creating a complex cycle that can only be addressed through coordinated intervention and support.


Living with a mental illness can be alienating and overwhelming, making it difficult to hold down a stable job or maintain personal relationships. Many who need care for psychological conditions may not be able to access or afford it – an issue that disproportionately impacts Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous Americans, and especially men of color


Conversely, homelessness can exacerbate existing health problems, physical or psychological. Poor nutrition, unsafe living situations, lack of access to basic amenities for hygiene, and reduced social contact with friends and family all take a toll on well-being.


That’s why the Housing First approach is so critical – and why we put it into practice here at Pathlight HOME. Whether a person experiences homelessness due to mental illness or another factor – such as economic instability, domestic violence, emancipation from foster care, or family disputes – they can’t effectively recover from those setbacks until their basic needs of shelter and security are met. 


Stereotypes and stigma aren’t an answer to homelessness; they’re a barrier to overcome. Pathlight HOME gives people a safe place to stay long-term, without conditions or judgment. Once they have stability, they can work with a case manager to access care for health conditions, build a financial plan, and make progress toward an independent future.


You can help Central Floridians find their path to a long-term home by volunteering, donating household goods on our Resident Wish List, or making a financial contribution to our cause. To learn more about our mission, send us a message or give us a call at 407-521-6335.