College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 11-23-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Molly Brown, PhD

Second Advisor

Leonard Jason, PhD


There is a growing interest in identifying policies which support a transition to permanent housing for individuals with long stays in emergency homeless shelters. The present study explored trajectories into long-term homeless shelter utilization and the relationship between housing history and housing preferences. Participants were 11 individuals identified by staff at two homeless shelters in a large Midwestern city as being long-term shelter-stayers, defined as staying in shelter a majority of days over a minimum of three years. Using narrative analysis, the present study examined specific portions of text drawn from semi-structured interviews with people who are long-term shelter-stayers; these included sections describing participant’s housing histories and housing preferences. Three trajectories (structured-continuous, structured-intermittent, and unstructured-intermittent) into long-term shelter-stayer type homelessness were identified and themes conceptualizing these subgroups and their most prevalent housing transitions are presented. Additionally, themes were identified regarding the housing preferences of the sample and how housing preferences related to individual housing history. Dissemination of the housing preferences of individuals who are long-term shelter-stayers could potentially lead to better housing placements and longer housing tenure in this population, and an understanding of housing transitions may help identify key points of intervention to prevent long-term shelter-stayer homelessness.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons