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The dynamics of homelessness

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  • Economics

Abstract

This study explores transitions between homeless and domiciled states. It describes the timing of departures from and returns to homelessness, and it tests theoretical propositions linking individual attributes and experiences to these transitions. Four theoretical frameworks guide the analyses: institutional disaffiliation, human capital deficiencies, personal disabilities, and acculturation. The data come from a longitudinal study of homeless individuals in Minneapolis. Various individual attributes are linked with leaving homelessness, including recent employment, welfare receipt, job training, identification with other homeless people, and homeless history. Fewer attributes are linked with returns to homelessness: work history and gender. These findings provide some evidence for existing explanations for homeless transitions, and they suggest promising avenues for further research on the dynamics of homelessness.

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