Identifying risk factors for homelessness among people living with HIV disease
As the HIV virus spreads into America's most economically vulnerable communities, the US faces a low-cost housing shortage that leaves more than 40% of all poor people unable to find affordable housing. It is estimated that up to half of all HIV+ Americans need some form of housing assistance during the duration of their illness. In the midst of this, housing planners and service providers find it necessary to identify those at greatest risk of poor housing outcomes, including homelessness, to direct the largest portion of housing resources toward their situation. The study presented here was undertaken in service to that task.Utilizing survey data from 2,856 people with HIV disease, the study seeks to identify those respondents at greatest risk of homelessness and those characteristics that might inform the development of housing and related services for them. Logistic regression analysis identifies the available variables that significantly increase respondents' odds of homelessness. Of income, gender, race/ethnicity, age, HIV status, household composition, the presence of children, hard drug use, history of incarceration, and sexual orientation, respondents' income, hard drug use, and household composition appear to most increase respondents' odds of homelessness. Very poor respondents who use hard drugs and live alone are the most likely to be homeless.Regression findings and respondents' previous history of homelessness are used to construct a risk-of-homelessness spectrum that classifies each respondent at low, moderate, or high risk of homelessness. Men of color and women are over-represented in the high risk group. Thirty-seven percent of the respondents in the high risk group report using hard drugs. Women in this group are particularly likely to use: 54% use hard drugs, 26% of whom have minor children in the home. Among respondents in the high risk group who were asked if they had traded sex for a place to stay, 42% indicated they had, and 44% of respondents asked about previous incarceration indicated they had been incarcerated in the past. Implications of these findings for social work practice, policy, and research are discussed in the final chapter of the study.
- Social welfare