A community refers to a group of individuals living in a common place having similar characteristics. The community found in North Carolina is considered for the study. The state of North Carolina has been termed as the ninth most populous state in the United States and it is located in the southeastern region of the United States. The state has an approximated population of 10.04 million people that are all distributed over the land area of 125, 920 square kilometers (Lueddeke, 2016). The population of the state is made up of different groups of people that include the old, the young, the poor and the rich among other groups who are found in various cities within the state. For purposes of this paper, the city of Durham that is found in North Carolina will be considered in making the required assessment. Generally, the population of Durham as a city is usually faced with a number of health issues that affected most of the population groups living in the city (Lueddeke, 2016). The most vulnerable groups living in the city include the old, the young and the homeless teenagers who are found in the streets of the city found in the state. For purposes of this paper, the homeless teenagers living in the city will be assessed. As such, the purpose of this paper is to identify and assess a vulnerable population in your community. You will also describe one community health problem that impacts this vulnerable group.
Vulnerable population overview
The vulnerable group that will be assessed in this paper consists of the homeless youths living in the city of Durham. In the recent years, the rate of homelessness in the city of Durham has gone up and it is considered to be the highest since the great depression of the 1930’s (Nies & McEwen, 2011). As per of July , 2016, the total count of homeless people in the city was approximated at 60,500 individuals that was made up of 15,156 homeless families with a total of 23,425 homeless youths. Being homeless exposes individuals to different dangers and health issues that affect all those who live in the streets (Landrigan, 2005).
As such, homeless youths in the city of Durham happen to be exposed to a number of both mental and health risk behaviors that usually affect their health. The fact is that, most of the homeless youths are exposed to a series of health issues that happen to be very harmful to their health with one of the common issues being that of engaging in risky sexual behaviors (Nies & McEwen, 2011). Though it is not certain that involving in risky health behaviors are a result of homelessness, it is very important to note that other issues like poverty, drugs and the need for fast money have all contributed towards this risky healthy behavior (Landrigan, 2005). Unemployment and the need for a better life are also termed as part of the factors that contribute greatly towards these individuals engaging in risky healthy behaviors as most of them have gone for prostitution as a way of earning a living.
Strengths, risk factors and barriers affecting the homeless youths
There are a number of factors that affect the homeless youths as they try to carry survive in the society. Some of the strengths that this population possess includes being energetic, having plenty of time to engage in any of the economic factors that they wish and having plenty of opportunities to carry out their activities. These factors are important as they can be used positively and learn about the best ways to live in the society without engaging in any of the risk factors that they engage in (Nies & McEwen, 2011).
Some of the risk factors that this group of the population is exposed to include poverty, homelessness, and lack of a stable income source. These factors tend to expose the group to the activities that they engage in willingly and unwillingly as the conditions that they are exposed to do not allow them to take part productive activities (Landrigan, 2005). Additionally, there are barriers that make these individuals have a change and shun from their risky behaviors. Some of the barriers include lack of appropriate opportunity to earn the efficient education that could help them to better their lives and poverty that has made them to engage in these risky behaviors. Again, most of those individuals who live in the streets use drugs and these usually act as a barrier for them changing their lifestyles (Nies & McEwen, 2011). Lack of opportunity is another barrier that the street youths face in trying to better their lives and move out of the risky behaviors that they engage in.
To change the lives of the street families and more so the lives of the homeless youths in the city of Durham , there are a number of resources that have been offered publicly to improve their behaviors (Nies & McEwen, 2011). Some of the resources that are available for this group of people include public libraries that might give any interested youth any opportunity to learn and advance their knowledge to help them in the future. Again, there are a number of sports facilities that have been availed to the public that can be used by this group to enhance their talents and make their lives better thus moving out of the risky behaviors that they engage in (Landrigan, 2005). Additionally, there are a number schools that have been constructed to offer special education to this group of people in the society as a way of advancing their lives and changing their livelihoods for the better.
Based on what has been observed, the resources available are not enough for the population as the number of homeless youths in the streets is increasing while the resources are not being increased. As such, there is a need to have more facilities and resources that will help this population to improve their lives and have a future by getting out of their risky behaviors (Nies & McEwen, 2011).
Community health problem diagnosis
There are a number of priorities that the community nurse can select from to positively impact on the community and more specifically for the homeless youths living in the city (Nies & McEwen, 2011). According to the healthy people 2020 objectives, the community may make the increase in teenage pregnancy a priority and work towards helping the youths shun from the risky sexual behaviors that they engage in (Landrigan, 2005).
This paper highlights on some of the health risk factors that are experienced by the homeless youths in the city of Durham with a special emphasis on the involvement of the youths in risky sex behaviors. The paper has highlighted that poverty, lack of opportunities and the need for money as some of the key factors that contribute towards this vice in the society. It is important to note that, unhealthy risky sex behaviors is one of the problems that the youths in the city of Durham are facing and it calls for effective strategies and practices to be devised to deal with this problem. The paper has also noted some resources being available in the society, though they are not enough as the number of homeless youths is increasing by the day in the society. It is on this basis that the role of the nurse is coming in to make sure that this problem is dealt with effectively and the effects of what the youths engage in are minimized significantly through the efforts of the nurse.
Landrigan, P. J. (2005). Children as a Vulnerable Population. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal, 11(1), 235-238. doi:10.1080/10807030590920051
Lueddeke, G. R. (2016). Global population health and well-being in the 21st century: Toward new paradigms, policy, and practice.
Nies, M. A., & McEwen, M. (2011). Community/public health nursing: Promoting the health of populations. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier/Saunders.