Transitions through Homelessness and Factors That Predict Them

Robert G. Orwin, Chris K. Scott and Carlos Arieira

March 2005

In this study, "Transitions through Homelessness and Factors That Predict Them: Three-Year Treatment Outcomes," researchers examine the course of homelessness among adults entering treatment in the Chicago Target Cities sample, which was aimed at improving the service delivery system in large metropolitan areas across the U.S.  The objectives of the study were to: (1) examine transitions in and out of homelessness over 3 years post entry into treatment; and (2) determine the treatment and non-treatment factors that predict achieving and sustaining residential stability. Sixty-one percent of initially homeless participants were stably housed at 36 months. By contrast, only 14% of initially housed participants were homeless at 36 months. Sample-wide, homelessness was reduced by 43% over 3 years. In conditional logistic regression models, the most consistent and persistent predictors were crack as the primary problem substance, which appears to be a risk factor for becoming and remaining homeless, and whether or not others were dependent on the participant for food/shelter, which appears to be a protective factor for achieving housing and preventing homelessness. In general, specific treatment factors did not predict outcomes. Limitations and implications for treatment are discussed.

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