Unhoused people: stigma, prejudice, and health care strategies

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Historical, social representations about stigma and prejudice related to unhoused people cause psychological distress, feeling of shame, and withdrawal from family and social relationships. This paper aimed to understand how unhoused people and health professionals perceive, repro-duce, elaborate, and address the representations produced by their social conditions. This qualitative research employed participant observation, interviews with 24 unhoused people, and a focus group with professionals from the services provid-ing care to the unhoused people. The study was conducted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where crack use is very prevalent. An analysis was performed using the phenomenological narrative method. Stereotyping conjures the self-image of an un-worthy, unwanted person, which justifies daily discrimination and, above all, the loss of the most critical condition of all beings, namely, their hu-man condition, besides legitimizing the lack of care and violence against them. Deepening the relationship between prejudice and discrimination in the context of vulnerable populations and health services can assist therapeutic projects that promote the reduction of psychological distress, better care, and social recognition of citizenship of the unhoused people.




Brito, C., & da Silva, L. N. (2022). Unhoused people: stigma, prejudice, and health care strategies. Ciencia e Saude Coletiva, 27(1), 151–160. https://doi.org/10.1590/1413-81232022271.19662021

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