Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

Committee Chair

Foster, James Price

Author's Keywords

Homeless; Substance abuse; Incarceration; Community-based services; Mental illness; Institutional services


Homeless persons--Services for--Kentucky--Louisville; Homelessness--Kentucky--Louisville; Inmates of institutions; Community-based social services--Kentucky--Louisville


The purpose of this study was to examine the link between various aspects of service utilization and the institutionalization of homeless individuals. The researcher wished to determine whether participation in various therapeutic, medical, and housing programs have an influence on recidivism, number of admissions to jail, and the number of admissions for psychiatric hospitalization. The current study examined administrative data from agencies which routinely provide services to homeless individuals and included a sample of 7,180 homeless individuals in Louisville, KY during 2004 and 2005. The current study posited four hypotheses related to the utilization of community-based services to reduce the use of institutional services. These hypotheses include: (1) utilization of community-based services will decrease the number of admissions to jail; (2) utilization of community-based services will reduce the number of admissions to Central State Hospital; (3) utilization of community-based services will decrease recidivism; and (4) increases in the number of days homeless will increase recidivism. The current study employed ordinary least squares (OLS) and logistic regression to examine the utilization of community-based and institutional services and their impact on jail admissions, Central State admissions, and recidivism. Findings from this study support three of the four hypotheses. Findings indicate the participation in various community-based services such as case management, counseling services, and permanent housing programs reduce the number of admissions to jail, reduce the number of admissions to Central State Hospital, and reduce the odds of recidivism. The current study did not find support for hypothesis 4. Findings indicate increased number of days homeless reduced the odds of recidivism, reduced the number of jail admissions, and reduced the number of admissions to Central State Hospital. The use of homeless shelters could act as an insulator against increased use of jail and psychiatric hospitals. Community-based services can be a source of informal social control for the individual and help promote conformity with the social norms and rules of society. Utilization of community-based services allows individuals to remain in the community and maintain their connections to pro-social individuals, programs, and agencies.