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What a landmark new study on homelessness tells us

Jul 5, 2023

Vox: What a landmark new study on homelessness tells us

While unsheltered homelessness in the US has grown conspicuously worse over the last decade, understanding the experiences of those living without housing remains logistically difficult. So much of what researchers know about the daily lives of the non-homeless population is through household research, like the Census Household Pulse or the American Community Survey. A lack of clear data on those without housing makes it harder to understand how they lost their shelter, how they survive — or don’t survive — and easier for half-baked theories and myths to spread about homeless individuals themselves.

“I was really surprised by how little people thought it would have taken to prevent their homelessness,” Margot Kushel, the principal investigator of the study, told Vox. “Do we know if people are overly optimistic? Sure, they might be. But I sort of believe people are experts in their own lives and people really felt that, had they interrupted that cycle, they could have hung on, but once they became homeless everything else fell apart. Once they lost their housing, then their job opportunities declined and they got to a hole they couldn’t pull out of.”

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