Risk factors for long-term homelessness: Findings from a longitudinal study of first-time homeless single adults

C. L M Caton, Boanerges Dominguez, Bella Schanzer, Deborah S. Hasin, Patrick E. Shrout, Alan Felix, Hunter McQuistion, Lewis A. Opler, Eustace Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives. We examined risk factors for long-term homelessness among newly homeless men and women who were admitted to New York City shelters in 2001 and 2002. Methods. Interviews were conducted with 377 study participants upon entry into the shelter and at 6-month intervals for 18 months. Standardized assessments of psychiatric diagnosis, symptoms, and coping skills; social and family history; and service use were analyzed. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox regression were used to examine the association between baseline assessments and duration of homelessness. Results. Eighty-one percent of participants returned to community housing during the follow-up period; the median duration of homelessness was 190 days. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that a shorter duration of homelessness was associated with younger age, current or recent employment, earned income, good coping skills, adequate family support, absence of a substance abuse treatment history, and absence of an arrest history. Cox regression showed that older age group (P<.05) and arrest history (P<.01) were the strongest predictors of a longer duration of homelessness. Conclusions. Identification of risk factors for long-term homelessness can guide efforts to reduce lengths of stay in homeless shelters and to develop new preventive interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1753-1759
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume95
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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