Patterns of shelter use among men new to homelessness in later life

Article title: Patterns of shelter use among men new to homelessness in later life: Duration of stay and  psychosocial factors

From Journal of Applied Gerontology

This article demonstrates that older men who become homeless in later life have unique psychosocial needs in relation to younger homeless men, and these vulnerabilities impact shelter use. Older men are at an increased risk of remaining in a shelter when compared with younger men. Understanding how different challenges—such as legal and mobility vulnerabilities—may impact tendencies to stay or leave the shelter system can provide service providers, administrators and decisionmakers with important directions on when, where, and how to address the particular issues that render older homeless men vulnerable to remaining homeless for extended periods of time.


People who become homeless for the first time in late life are a growing but understudied population. This study draws on administrative data from one shelter (N= 1,214 first-time homeless) to assess the extent to which age is related to shelter stay and, to examine psychosocial factors that may be associated with shelter departure. Our bivariate and survival analysis results suggest that older homeless men stay in the shelter 2 weeks longer than younger clients. Older men with pending legal issues and mobility concerns were more likely to leave the shelter than those without such concerns. Findings highlight the impact of age and other psychosocial variables on shelter stay, and provide direction from which to address homelessness among men who are new to homelessness in later life.


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Article details
David W. Rothwell, Tamara Sussman, Amanda Grenier, Sebastian Mott, and Valérie Bourgeois-Guérin
Patterns of Shelter Use Among Men New to Homelessness in Later Life: Duration of Stay and Psychosocial Factors Related to Departure
Journal of Applied Gerontology 0733464815624154, first published on January 14, 2016 doi:10.1177/0733464815624154



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