The vulnerability index is a tool for finding out who among the street homeless population needs health care and housing the most. It is being used in more and more cities in the USA. Volunteeers conduct a survey of people living in homeless shelters, warming centers and people who do not have any housing at all.
The vulnerability index is from the work of Dr. Jim O'Connell of Boston's Healthcare for the Homeless. He was concerned about the causes of death of unsheltered homeless individuals living on the street. A national drive is underway by Common Ground to work with the HUD homeless count. Since communities are doing the count, he believes that is a good time to do the vulnerability index too. Its' people say that using it will help getting needy individuals off the street.