Data collected through a national longitudinal study of homeless families would help with resource allocation; understanding the needs of the population enables resource matching. Basic study design could provide data on the following:
- Families while homeless and subsequent to homelessness;
- Dynamics of service use and residential history/arrangements;
- Family separations during and following homelessness;
- Those who fall back into homelessness despite intervention;
- Families who are working (depending on sample size and selection); and
- Two-parent and father-only families (depending on sample size and selection).
If the study includes multiply homeless families at baseline, there will be greater understanding of repeat homelessness among families. If the study includes a sample of at-risk families, factors that prevent families from becoming homeless will be learned. If the sample is large enough to look at subgroups in regions, contextual factors will be identified that interact with individual factors and family homelessness.