Exploring a Typology of Homelessness in Hawai‘i Using a Mixed Methods Approach

Exploring a Typology of Homelessness in Hawai‘i Using a Mixed Methods Approach


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Homelessness has become one of the largest and most intractable problems of modernity. The State of Hawai‘i, like many other areas in the United States, has large numbers of homeless individuals and families who seek support through the many shelters and services available in the state. This mixed methods study was interested in exploring if there is identifiable diversity in how individuals and families tend to move through Hawai‘i’s homeless service system over time.

First, homeless service providers (n = 9) and service users (n = 9) were interviewed about the factors they saw as having a significant impact on differing experiences of homelessness in the state. Participant interviews were thematically coded and identified a number of individual and family, program and organization, systemic, and community and societal level factors that can shape an individual’s homeless experience.

The data obtained in these interviews were then used to inform a quantitative examination of administrative service usage data from the Hawai‘i Homeless Management Information System. The sample consisted of all adults who had entered the service system for the first time in the fiscal year of 2010 ( N = 4,655). These individuals were then tracked through the end of FY 2014, as they used emergency shelter, transitional shelter, and outreach services. A latent class growth analysis (LCGA) was conducted with this longitudinal data and identified four distinct patterns of service use: low service use (n = 3966, 85.2%); typical transitional service use ( n = 452, 9.7%); atypical transitional use (n = 127, 2.7%), and potential chronic service use (n = 110, 2.4%). A series of multinomial logistic regression models were the used determine if select demographic, family, background, or health variables were associated with class membership. The distinct profiles for class membership are discussed.

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University of Hawai'i at Manoa


Social sciences, Psychology, Hawaii, Homeless services, Homelessness, Latent class growth analysis, Mixed methods, Systems

Exploring a Typology of Homelessness in Hawai‘i Using a Mixed Methods Approach