Original Paper

The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 375-388

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Cognitive Impairments and the Prevention of Homelessness: Research and Practice Review

  • Thomas Earl BackerAffiliated withHuman Interaction Research Institute Email author 
  • , Elizabeth A. HowardAffiliated withHuman Interaction Research Institute


Cognitive impairments can increase significantly a person’s level of risk for becoming or remaining homeless. Five topics are explored that address these impairments in preventing homelessness: (1) the nature and estimated prevalence of cognitive impairments among people who are homeless, especially those with vulnerabilities like mental illness or substance abuse; (2) the multiple origins of these impairments; (3) how these impairments impact services for people at risk for homelessness; (4) good practice approaches to handling cognitive impairments in homeless shelters, supported housing programs, and other service systems for people at risk for homelessness; and, (5) important research and practice issues requiring further action.


Cognitive impairments Homelessness Prevention Assessment Intervention