The neighborhood context of homelessness

Ben Alexander-Eitzman, David E. Pollio, Carol S North

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives: We examined and compared the changing neighborhood characteristics of a group of homeless adults over time. Methods: We collected the addresses of previous housing and sleep locations from a longitudinal study of 400 homeless adults in the St. Louis, Missouri, region and compared census measures of housing and economic opportunities at different points along individual pathways from housing to homelessness and at 1- and 2-year follow-up interviews. Results: Sleep locations of homeless adults were much more concentrated in the urban core at baseline than were their previous housed and follow-up locations. These core areas had higher poverty, unemployment, and rent-to-income ratios and lower median incomes. Conclusions: The spatial concentration of homeless adults in areas with fewer opportunities and more economic and housing distress may present additional barriers to regaining stable housing and employment. A big-picture spatial and time-course viewpoint is critical for both policymakers and future homelessness researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)679-685
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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