Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

5-2014

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department

Urban and Public Affairs

Committee Chair

Bourassa, Steven C., 1957-

Committee Member

Zhang, Sumei

Committee Member

Koven, Steven

Committee Member

Barber, Gerard

Subject

Homeless persons--Housing--Kentucky--Louisville; Homeless persons--Housing--Ohio--Cincinnati

Abstract

This study examined the impacts of neighborhood and housing type on housing stability for formerly homeless individuals participating in Housing First projects in Louisville, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio. Both projects operate similarly except that the Louisville project has only scattered-site housing while the Cincinnati project has both project-based and scattered-site housing. The first chapter presents five key research questions that frame the study. Chapter 2 reviews literature on homelessness and policies to address this urban problem with a specific emphasis on Housing First. Chapter 3 proposes qualitative and quantitative methods for answering the proposed research questions. Chapter 4 summarizes findings from interviews with staff and participants at both projects. Staff identified tradeoffs between the two housing types, often stating that the best fit depended on the individual participant. Participants placed high value on housing amenities, access to transportation and services, and neighborhood safety, but expressed mixed reviews as to how their housing ranked in terms of these criteria. While staff and participants alike felt that neighborhood was important, most agreed that other factors such as access to services and personal determination were more crucial to success in the program. Chapter 5 describes how GIS was used to merge administrative records, census data, and other demographic data to map various characteristics of the census tracts in which participants live. These maps demonstrate that participants in both cities tended to live in less affluent, more urban, and more crime ridden tracts compared to other tracts in their cities. This was especially true for Cincinnati’s project-based participants. Chapter 6 discusses how this data was used to construct binary logistic and survival models to determine whether neighborhood affected the likelihood of participants remaining in housing. Both analysis methods demonstrated that it was personal attributes, rather than neighborhood, that significantly increased the likelihood of being forcibly exited from a placement. However, higher quality neighborhoods were found to decrease the odds of a participant moving due to other reasons such as dissatisfaction with housing. Chapter 7 concludes this work with a discussion of how this research can guide future consideration for Housing First policy and research.

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