219379 Trends in earnings and employment before and after the first instance of homelessness: A multi-cohort analysis

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 1:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Jamison D. Fargo, PhD, MSEpi , Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Nicholas Eng , Department of Urban Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Stephen Metraux, MA, PhD , Department of Health Policy & Public Health, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Dennis Culhane, PhD , School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Although it has been suggested that homelessness has a persistently negative impact on earnings and employment, little empirical research exists to support this claim. We examined earnings and employment trends 10-years prior to and following the first instance of homelessness in order to better understand its economic impact. We explored how such trends were influenced by demographic and homelessness-related characteristics, such as homelessness typology (chronic/episodic/temporary), exit housing (permanent/non-permanent), and homelessness duration. Homelessness data were obtained from the NYC Department of Homeless Services while earnings and employment data were obtained from the Social Security Administration in aggregated form for 13 cohorts (1990-2002) comprising 67,400 sampling clusters (defined by cohort and follow-up period [1980-2007], demographic and homelessness characteristics). Piecewise mixed-effects models were used to examine trends in earnings and employment, with random effects for cohort. Statistical analyses were conducted separately for singles and families, weighted by cluster size, and adjusted for demographic characteristics. Results indicated a precipitous decline in both earnings and employment for both singles and families prior to homelessness. However, following homelessness, earnings recovered both for singles and families, while employment recovered only for families. In both cases, recovery was greater and more rapid for transitional and chronic homelessness (as compared to episodic) and for those exiting to permanent housing. Results suggest earnings and rate of employment are not universally static phenomena following homelessness, with recovery of both outcomes for most subgroups. However, increased intervention efforts should be focused on singles, particularly in terms of obtaining employment assistance.

Learning Areas:
Biostatistics, economics
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Differentiate between income and employment trends for singles and families after homelessness and describe how those trends vary as a function of demographic and homelessness-related characteristics.

Keywords: Homelessness, Economic Analysis

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a member of the Research Core of the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans where I conduct research on homelessness prevalence, risk, and prevention. I am also a Senior Research Investigator and Associate Fellow with the Center for Public Health Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania.
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.