What leads to homeless shelter re-entry? An exploration of the psychosocial, health, contextual and demographic factors

Annie T. Duchesne, David W. Rothwell

Abstract


OBJECTIVES: A longer duration of homelessness is associated with poorer health outcomes. Following this logic, policies that aim to reduce repeated episodes of homelessness by addressing its root causes can result in better long-term health. This paper explores how many people return to the shelter in a Canadian context and examines factors related to returns to homelessness.

METHODS: The sample included 634 adult men who participated in transitional programming at a large homeless shelter in Montreal, Quebec between 2011 and 2014. Descriptive statistics, survival analysis and multinomial logistic regression techniques were used to examine how psychosocial elements, demographic characteristics and contextual factors were related to returns to the shelter over a one-year follow-up period.

RESULTS: Approximately 38% of the sample returned to the shelter within a year of program departure. A return was positively associated with a lack of support from friends and family (p < 0.05) and an imposed departure from the shelter (p < 0.05). Poor support was also associated with a faster time to return (p < 0.05) to the shelter, as was an imposed departure (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Building social networks and altering programs to accommodate those at high risk of an imposed departure may lead to fewer returns to homelessness and subsequently better health outcomes.


Keywords


Homelessness; returns; psychosocial; policy

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.107.5271