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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 107, Issue 1, pp e94–e99 | Cite as

What leads to homeless shelter re-entry? An exploration of the psychosocial, health, contextual and demographic factors

  • Annie T. DuchesneEmail author
  • David W. Rothwell
Quantitative Research
  • 2 Downloads

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: A longer duration of homelessness is associated with poorer health outcomes. Following this logic, policies that aim to reduce repeated episodes of homelessness by addressing its root causes can result in better long-term health. This paper explores how many people return to the shelter in a Canadian context and examines factors related to returns to homelessness.

METHODS: The sample included 634 adult men who participated in transitional programming at a large homeless shelter in Montreal, Quebec between 2011 and 2014. Descriptive statistics, survival analysis and multinomial logistic regression techniques were used to examine how psychosocial elements, demographic characteristics and contextual factors were related to returns to the shelter over a one-year follow-up period.

RESULTS: Approximately 38% of the sample returned to the shelter within a year of program departure. A return was positively associated with a lack of support from friends and family (p < 0.05) and an imposed departure from the shelter (p < 0.05). Poor support was also associated with a faster time to return (p < 0.05) to the shelter, as was an imposed departure (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Building social networks and altering programs to accommodate those at high risk of an imposed departure may lead to fewer returns to homelessness and subsequently better health outcomes.

Key Words

Homelessness returns psychosocial policy 

Résumé

OBJECTIFS: L’itinérance prolongée est associée à de mauvais résultats sanitaires. Suivant cette logique, les politiques qui visent à réduire les épisodes répétés d’itinérance en abordant leurs causes fondamentales peuvent mener à une meilleure santé à long terme. Notre article explore dans un contexte canadien le nombre de gens qui retournent dans les refuges et examine les facteurs liés aux retours à l’itinérance.

MÉTHODE: L’échantillon comprenait 634 hommes adultes ayant participé à des programmes de transition dans un grand refuge pour sans-abri à Montréal (Québec) entre 2011 et 2014. Nous avons employé des techniques de statistique descriptive, d’analyse de survie et de régression logistique multinomiale pour examiner en quoi les éléments psychosociaux, le profil démographique et les facteurs contextuels étaient liés aux retours au refuge sur une période de suivi d’un an.

RÉSULTATS: Environ 38 % des personnes de l’échantillon sont retournées au refuge au cours de l’année suivant leur départ du programme. Un retour était associé positivement au manque d’appui des amis et de la famille (p < 0,05) et au départ imposé du refuge (p < 0,05). Le manque d’appui était également associé à un retour plus rapide (p < 0,05) au refuge, tout comme le départ imposé (p < 0,01).

CONCLUSIONS: La création de réseaux sociaux et la modification des programmes pour tenir compte des personnes à risque élevé de se voir imposer de partir pourraient réduire le nombre de retours à l’itinérance et améliorer par la suite les résultats sanitaires.

Mots Clés

itinérance retours psychosocial politique 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mission Old Brewery/Old Brewery MissionMontréalCanada
  2. 2.McGill UniversityMontréalCanada
  3. 3.College of Public Health and Human SciencesOregon State UniversityCanada

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