Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Guiding the Typology Development

10/01/2007

The relatively poor fit of the logistic regression models, examining both homelessness and residential stability, limits how much guidance this reanalysis of the Fragile Families database can provide for developing a typology of homeless families. The results do suggest that mental health and substance use issues (and to a lesser degree, domestic violence) increase a family's vulnerability to homelessness and that the absence of these issues heightens a family's probability of remaining stable. Housing assistance (such as receiving a subsidy) and having more money, not surprisingly, help families avoid homelessness, as has been found in prior studies.

As noted, the relatively poor fit of these models suggests that individual-level characteristics such as these are not the only factors involved in predicting who will become homeless. For those who are struggling well below the poverty level, it is likely that contextual factors, such as the availability of affordable housing in an area, play an even more important role in determining the likelihood of becoming homeless or staying in stable housing.

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