North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness

Predictors of Homelessness Among Families in New York City: From Shelter Request to Housing Stability

Converging evidence suggests that 3% of Americans have been literally homeless over the course of a 5-year period." 2 Far fewer are without homes on any given night, indicating that, for many, homelessness is a temporary state. Reducing or ending homelessness requires knowledge of why people become homeless and how most manage to return to conventional housing. Because many putative causes of homelessness cannot be manipulated, researchers typically infer causes of homelessness by comparing cross-sectional samples of homeless people with a comparison group. These studies confound the causes and consequences of homelessness. Furthermore, if exits from homelessness are not evenly distributed across all homeless people, cross-sectional designs confound positive correlates of entry with negative correlates of exit from homelessness. The present study, also correlational in nature, avoided these 2 biases. We examined predictors of seeking shelter among a sample of poor families in New York City with no prior shelter experience at the time of initial assessment and reinterviewed them 5 years later to determine predictors of residential stability. Families, this study's focus, make up about 40% of those who become homeless, although they represent fewer of those who are homeless on any given night
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Marybeth Shinn
Author: Marybeth Shinn
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