Forty Years of Research on Predictors of Homelessness

Zachary Giano, Amanda Williams, Carli Hankey, Renae Merrill, Rodica Lisnic, Angel Herring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Homelessness is a chronic public health issue in the U.S. This paper reviews the endurance and evolution of individual, youth, and family homelessness over the past 40-plus years. Thematic findings detail research on predictors of homelessness among adolescents, runaway youth, veterans, older adults, sheltered families, and female-headed families. Results provide a summary of contributors to homelessness, including issues related to family instability, unemployment and poverty, mental illness, substance use, unstable living arrangements, child maltreatment, social support, crime, and violence. Findings highlight key and persistent predictors of homelessness found across decades, as well as more recently identified and nuanced precursors to individual or family displacement. The goal of this work was to summarize what is known about predictors of homelessness to inform targeted research, practice, and policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-709
Number of pages18
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 May 2020


  • Health
  • Homelessness
  • Poverty
  • Runaway
  • Substance abuse
  • Veterans


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