A new study entitled, Pathways to Homelessness among Older Homeless Adults: Results from the HOPE HOME Study, explores the health status and life experiences of adults who had experienced homelessness in three different periods of their life. These include childhood (ages 18 and under), young adulthood (ages 18 to 25), and middle adulthood (ages 26 to 49). According to the study, those who had experienced homelessness before the age of 50 were more likely to report recent mental health and substance abuse issues and were more likely to be chronically homelessness. The majority of those experiencing homelessness before age 50 (56.6 percent of the participants) were also less likely to have graduated high school, gotten married, and be employed.
When looking at the data for the individuals who had first experienced homelessness during childhood and young adulthood, these individuals were more likely to report a high level of involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice system, child abuse and neglect, mental health issues, and substance abuse. Those who first experience homelessness during middle adulthood were more likely to be underemployed and have traumatic brain injury.
The authors concluded the services and interventions programs that might appropriate for a 50-year-old who had experienced homelessness in their early childhood or middle adulthood might not be suitable for a 50-year-old experiencing homelessness for the first time.
Click here to read the study.