Supportive housing for homeless young adults: Proposing an informed pathway to health and home
by Colegrove, Alice Rouse, Dr.P.H., BOSTON UNIVERSITY, 2010, 292 pages; 3399477


Homeless young people are some of America's most vulnerable citizens. Compared to housed young adults, homeless young adults have high morbidity and mortality rates. Homeless youth often have more pronounced illnesses that are more costly and challenging to treat, such as skin infections and sexually transmitted infections. Mental health and behavioral disorders are more prevalent among homeless youth than among matched housed peers, and for most, trauma and victimization have become regular parts of their lives. From a public health perspective, such dramatic disparities in health outcomes warrant strategic interventions. Numerous studies have shown that the provision of housing is the key to ending homelessness and improving the health of individuals who are homeless.

This dissertation provides, from a socio-ecological perspective, a complete analysis for understanding supportive housing for homeless young people. Housing programs (Chapter Two) and policies (Chapter Three) affecting youth on streets were assessed, and qualitative interviewing (Chapter Four) was conducted with both homeless youth and service providers around housing issues. A framework for the Sanctuary Apartment supportive housing program was developed from this data (Chapter Five) accompanied by a program implementation strategy. Finally, next steps were recommended for other cities also wishing to develop supportive housing programs tailored to their context (Chapter Six).

This dissertation fills critical gaps in both public health research and practice by: (1) Designing an intervention to improve the health homeless youth, and proposing places for these young people to finally go "home." (2) Contributing to the sparse academic literature on homeless young adults and housing. (3) Providing sufficient contextual analysis to assist other cities in developing a framework for increasing supportive housing for homeless youth.

AdviserDeborah Bowen
SourceDAI/B 71-03, Apr 2010
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsSocial research; Public health; Public policy; Urban planning
Publication Number3399477
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