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Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Recommendations for Studies with Existing Data
Readily available data sources on homeless families include four longitudinal studies (Shinn et al., 1998; Bassuk et al., 1998; Rog and Guttman, 1997; SAMHSA, 2004), two in a single city (New York and Washington, DC, respectively) and two in several sites. There is also one cross-sectional study (Burt et al., 1999). The two studies in a single cit
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Recommendations for New Studies to Develop Typologies Relevant to Homeless Families
New cohort studies should be conducted with children in homeless families, with follow up until adulthood, including data on the variables listed in Appendix B.4. This is given the highest priority because damage to children, whether associated with severe poverty or homelessness, may have long-term repercussions on their emotional, social, intell
Here are recommendations for two types of typological research: (1) new data collection efforts targeted at developing and validating one or more typologies; (2) studies using existing data sets.
A typology of homeless families should build on the existing knowledge. Most homeless families are experiencing severe poverty and that subsidized housing is enough in the majority of instances to help them gain a stable home. There are smaller groups for whom this does not seem to work, presumably because other environmental, personal, or situati
The validity of a classification or typology can be established in a variety of ways. The approach most frequently emphasized in clinical research is predictive validity, which refers to the ability of a classification scheme to suggest the most likely course and treatment response for a given member of a class. Another approach is construct val
A number of statistical procedures are available to identify homogeneous subtypes for the development of empirical typologies. Important considerations in the selection of a statistical procedure are the size of the data set, the value of classifying all cases, the relative importance of working with smaller rather than larger numbers of subtype
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Selection of Classification Variables and Data Sets
Several criteria may be helpful to guide the selection of variables. These are simplicity, ease of measurement, theoretical relevance, minimal measurement overlap, coverage of major domains of interest, and practical usefulness in service matching.
Having described the conceptual issues that justify the development of typological formulations, particularly in relation to homelessness and homeless families, this section considers the benefits and disadvantages of various methodological approaches for typology development, as well as criteria for selecting variables, measurement procedures and
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Family Variables vs. Individual Characteristics
Regarding the issue of family variables vs. individual characteristics, it would seem logical and necessary to consider both in any typology of homeless families. There are typologies of homeless youth, (i.e., youth who are homeless by themselves), with categories of runaway; throw away and “system” (e.g. foster care) youth (Farrow, Deisher,
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Approaches to Understanding Homelessness
Another issue is whether homelessness should be approached in a cross-sectional way or situated in the larger context of developmental experience. Some types of homelessness may be developmentally cumulative, becoming progressively worse over time, whereas others may be developmentally limited (e.g., only during periods of economic depression an
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Question Two: Single Domain or Multidimensional Typology?
Regarding the second question (single domain or multidimensional typology), if a single domain is chosen, the only one that is general enough is the low-income housing/poverty relationship.
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Question One: Theory Driven or Blind Empiricism?
Regarding the first question (whether the typology should be theory driven or directed by blind empiricism), it is first necessary to evaluate the quality of theory. There are essentially five theories: (1) Homeless people belong to an underclass with a culture of its own that lacks the necessary personal structuring needed to develop a home life,
If there is general agreement that typological formulations are appropriate to consider for the description and management of homeless families, the following questions need to be addressed before beginning the search for subtypes:
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Optimal Taxonomic Standards of a Good Typology
Based on the experience of typological research in psychiatry and substance abuse (Babor and Dolinsky, 1988), a set of taxonomic standards can be suggested as the characteristics of a good typology. Optimally, a typology of homeless families should:
Given the nature of typological formulations and their history in clinical decision-making, an important conceptual issue is the possible functions of a typology for the management of homeless families. The major uses of clinical typologies that have been proposed in these various literatures are the following:
The concept of treatment or service matching refers to decision rules designed to facilitate matching to optimal treatment modality, service intensity, and ancillary services. An important consideration in the development of a typology of homeless families is the kinds of services that the typology might relate to in terms of treatment, preventi
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Definition of Terms and Important Concepts
A number of important terms and concepts have been introduced in the introductory sections of this chapter that should now be more formally defined.