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Caring for our Unhoused Neighbors: Best Practices for Social Workers in Healthcare, Aging, and Disability Services – Ian Johnson, LCSW, PhD (he/they) and Namrata Mukherjee, MSW (she/her)

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People experiencing homelessness face chronic illness and co-morbidities at greater rates than their housed peers, and in ways that accelerate physical aging processes. At the same time, the age demographics of those experiencing homelessness in the United States have skewed older. Despite the growth of older adults experiencing homelessness and the higher likelihood of ‘felt experiences’ of disability and aging, social workers in healthcare, aging, and disability service milieu continue to feel unprepared to address the unique material and psychosocial needs of people experiencing homelessness. This workshop aims to increase the competencies and comfort of social workers interfacing with people experiencing homelessness in the healthcare arena.


As a result of attending this presentation, participants will be able to:

1. Identify unique medical, material and psychosocial needs of people experiencing homelessness identified by interdisciplinary research;

2. Increase awareness of tools, language, and strategies for engagement, assessment and intervention in healthcare settings with people experiencing homelessness; and

3. Develop comfort implementing best practices in homelessness healthcare through workshop activities.


Social workers and other service providers working in healthcare, aging, and disability services.


Ian Johnson is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee College of Social Work. Ian’s research seeks housing and health justice for older adults. He is the primary investigator of the Research, Action & Supportive Care at Later-life for Unhoused Peoples (RASCAL-UP) Study, a partnership with University of Washington at Harborview’s Mobile Homeless Palliative Care Outreach Team. Ian has a doctorate in Social Welfare and is a licensed social worker. He teaches direct social work practice to emerging social workers and qualitative research methods.

Namrata Mukherjee is a professional social worker from India with exposure as a development practitioner in thematic areas of livelihood, income disparity, health, and sanitation. She has worked with multiple not-for-profit organizations and has experience working as a Consultant in Corporate Social Responsibility. She is currently in her 2nd year Ph.D. program at UTK CSW with a specific research focus on aging and social policy. Her passion lies in understanding issues in society that cause disparity and working to mitigate the challenges.