In addition to the cross-sectional surveys, there are several longitudinal studies that track the same person, family, or household over time. Because of the challenges and costs involved in tracking respondents, these surveys typically involve much smaller samples than cross-sectional studies and are often much more focused on specific population
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Studies that Met Primary Selection Criteria
As noted earlier, only two studies meet all four of the primary selection criteria: the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey.
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Studies Unable to Examine Subpopulations or Regional/State Differences
The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) uses a national area probability sample; collects information on health, illness, and disability that could be usefully examined in relationship to literal and at-risk homelessness; and regularly includes supplemental questions. The major challenge with the NHIS is its sample size.
Two studies, the National Health and Nutrition Exam (NHANES) and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), were dropped from consideration because both collect data mainly on a specific individual rather than a family or household. This is a particularly unfortunate feature, since the NSDUH annually collects data on a large number of peo
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Study Design and Structure Likely to Exclude Recent Homeless or Residentially Unstable Families
Three studies-the National Immunization Survey (NIS), National Household Education Survey (NHES), and American Housing Survey (AHS)-are not good candidates for enhancement because they use sample designs and/or data collection methods that are likely to exclude current and recently homeless families, as well as families that are currently resident
The National Survey of America's Families was eliminated from further consideration as there are no current plans for extending its data collection to a fourth cohort of respondents. It has a number of features that would have made it a good candidate for enhancement, including an oversampling of poorer neighborhoods, relatively large samples, and
The national cross-sectional surveys currently in operation are designed to provide current information on various topics (e.g., the percentage of the population currently working, health status of people, or the extent of illegal substance abuse). These surveys typically collect information on a large number of people in order to be able to provi
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Overview of National Survey Efforts
A number of national surveys are regularly conducted to address a myriad of information needs.
As noted in previous chapters, the current literature provides an extensive understanding of the characteristics and service needs of currently homeless families, yet there remain substantial knowledge gaps that make it difficult to develop an accurate and useful typology of homeless families. These gaps include the following:
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For the purposes of some Federal definitions, being doubled up is considered homelessness whereas in other programs it is not.
As noted, several suggestions on how the Fragile Families data set could be used for future research include looking more closely at geographic differences, as well as taking advantage of the next wave of surveys. More broadly, this reanalysis has shown the utility of looking at a broader range of families that may be at risk of becoming homeless.
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
Although not designed to provide information on homeless families, the Fragile Families database has provided information that is useful in filling some of our knowledge gaps with respect to homeless families. One important gap that this data set helps fill is providing information on a national sample of homeless families, rather than being restr
Several important qualifications need to be kept in mind when reviewing all of these findings. One issue is the relatively small number of households in this poverty sample that were ever homeless during the period examined (less than 100). The small number of cases limits how much can be said even descriptively about these families. In addition,
The reanalysis of the Fragile Families database shows that even among women who are extremely poor (at or below 50% of the poverty level), the risk of being homeless is not very large. Using a very broad definition of homelessness, less than one in ten (8%) of the women in this poverty sample indicated that they had been homeless for even 1 night
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Predicting Residential Stability and Homelessness
A second set of analyses were performed to answer the questions:
Descriptive analyses were conducted with all of the variables shown in Table 5-2 . These analyses were conducted to examine differences among the combined residential groups on the range of variables listed in Table 5-2 . Alcohol and drug use were combined to create a single substance use variable. Several measures of mental health status — c
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Potential Risk and Protective Factors
Variables to be examined were selected in part based on characteristics that were found to be important in past research along with those proposed by members of an Expert Panel, convened to guide the conceptualization of the typology (a detailed meeting summary is included in Chapter 3 ).