218145 Chronic homelessness among veterans: Characteristics, risk factors, and policy implications

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 2:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Ann Elizabeth Montgomery, PhD, MPA, MSSW , School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
In 2008, approximately 30% of individuals experiencing homelessness were unaccompanied adults with a disabling condition who were either continuously homeless for at least one year or were homeless four or more times during the previous three years. Such chronically homeless individuals often experience serious mental illness, substance-related disorders, and complex medical problems; they most frequently live in shelters, the streets, or other locations not meant for human habitation and access costly services at hospitals and other institutions.

To date, little research has addressed the prevalence of chronic homelessness among veterans. In addition, existing research has not identified risk factors for chronic versus episodic or short-term, intermittent homelessness among veterans, increasing the difficulty of appropriately targeting resources to end homelessness among veterans, consistent with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' five-year plan.

Using intake data from the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program, this study will describe the population of veterans who experience chronic homelessness, identify significant risk factors for chronic versus episodic homelessness, and consider policy implications for addressing chronic homelessness among veterans. These data indicate that more than 30% of veterans requesting HCHV services meet the criteria for chronic homelessness and that these individuals may be older, more likely to sleep in places not meant for human habitation, and more likely to have serious medical problems and histories of substance dependency than veterans who are episodically homeless. Such findings will increase the field's understanding of this special needs population and inform potential policy responses.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. To describe the characteristics of veterans experiencing chronic homelessness. 2. To identify the risk factors for chronic homelessness among veterans. 3. To consider policy implications for the primary or secondary prevention of chronic homelessness among veterans.

Keywords: Homelessness, Veterans

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Research Associate at the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.