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February 10, 1984

Money available to aid nation's homeless

JAMA. 1984;251(6):701. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340300011004

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Memorabilia of the Great Depression portray a time when 2 million Americans were homeless. Today, some news magazines are suggesting that, 50 years later, as many—and possibly even more—Americans have no fixed address.

The truth, says Philip W. Brickner, MD, director, Department of Community Medicine, St Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center, New York City, is that no one knows how many Americans are homeless today, "although this clearly is a substantial problem." And, whatever the total, two foundations are addressing one aspect of the problem—funds for medical care for the homeless.

The two organizations—the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ, and the Pew Memorial Trust, Philadelphia—in cosponsorship with the United States Conference of Mayors are setting up a $19.6-million program.

Coalitions of medical professionals and institutions, voluntary organizations, public agencies, and religious groups in the nation's 50 most populous cities are eligible to apply. Up to 14 will be selected