142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Experiences of Homelessness among Students at a Rural University

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014

Rachel Peterson, MS , Psychology, Utah State University, Logan, UT
Kimberlee Taylor, MS , Psychology, Utah State University, Logan, UT
Jamison D. Fargo, PhD , National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, Philadelphia, PA
Little is known about the extent of experiences of homelessness among US college students. However, virtually every school knows of homeless students (Berg-Cross & Green, 2010). Because of the stigma homelessness carries, students may try to conceal their homelessness from others, creatively making arrangements for sleeping and carrying out activities of daily living such as showering.

In the current study, 1,628 current students at Utah State University were asked about their current housing status and experiences of homelessness in the past year using a survey instrument similar to that used by the Department of Housing and Urban Development during their annual census of homeless individuals. In the last 12 months, 20% (N = 330) of students reported spending one or more nights in a situation that the Department of Housing and Urban Development recognizes as homeless (hotel, car or outdoors because they had nowhere else to stay, in an abandoned building or residence without utilities, in a homeless shelter, or in a domestic violence shelter). In terms of current homelessness, fifteen students (0.9%) indicated that they had slept in a homeless situation the previous night. An additional 26 students (1.6%) would lose their housing in the next 14 days, and only 14 (57%) of these indicated that they had a new place to move in to. Male students were significantly more likely than female students to report experiencing homelessness in the past year χ² (1) = 35.185, p < 0.001, and LGBTQ status was not a significant predictor of experience of homelessness. Housing instability and homelessness were found to be common issues facing this population, suggesting the need for services to support students so that they can continue their education and avoid long-term homelessness.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Design a homeless needs assessment for college students Identify patterns of homelessness among college students Formulate a college-based plan for preventing homelessness among college students

Keyword(s): Homelessness, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have researched youth homelessness in the state of Utah for three years, and have received two grants to design and implement interventions to increase post-secondary access and persistence among homeless youth. I am the founder and director of a non-profit homeless youth drop-in center.
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.