Community-level characteristics associated with variation in rates of homelessness among families and single adults

Academic Article


  • Objectives. We modeled rates of family and single-adult homelessness in the United States in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan regions and as a function of community-level demographic, behavioral, health, economic, and safety net characteristics. Methods. We entered community-level characteristics and US Department of Housing and Urban Development point-in-time counts for a single night in January 2009 into separate mixed-effects statistical analyses that modeled homelessness rates for 4 subpopulations: families and single adults inmetropolitan and nonmetropolitan regions. Results. Community-level factors accounted for 25% to 50% of the variance in homelessness rates across models. In metropolitan regions, alcohol consumption, social support, and several economic indicators were uniquely associated with family homelessness, and drug use and homicidewere uniquely associatedwith single-adult homelessness. In nonmetropolitan regions, life expectancy, religious adherence, unemployment, and rent burden were uniquely associated with family homelessness, and health care access, crime, several economic indicators, and receipt of Supplemental Security Income were uniquely associated with single-adult homelessness. Conclusions. Considering homeless families and single adults separately enabled more precise modeling of associations between homelessness rates and community-level characteristics, indicating targets for interventions to reduce homelessness among these subpopulations.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fargo JD; Munley EA; Byrne TH; Montgomery AE; Culhane DP
  • Volume

  • 103
  • Issue

  • SUPPL. 2