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Article   |    
Indicators of Chronic Homelessness Among Veterans
Suzanne L. Wenzel; Lillian Gelberg; Lailee Bakhtiar; Nicholas Caskey; Elizabeth Hardie; Carol Redford; Nancy Sadler
Psychiatric Services 1993; doi:
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This research was facilitated by support received while the first author was a postdoctoral scholar in the National Institute of Mental Health research training program in service systems and evaluation research. The authors appreciate the valuable suggestions of Howard E. Freeman, Ph.D., on an earlier version of the paper.

University of California, 10833 LeConte Avenue, Room 50-071 CHS, Los Angeles, California 90024.

West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

1993 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Objective: This study sought to develop a set of indicators of chronic homelessness as a basis for better understanding and treatment of the homeless veteran population. Methods: Chi square analysis and the t test or Mann-Whitney U test were used to compare characteristics of veterans who reported long-term homelessness (more than 12 months total since age 18) with those of veterans who reported short term homelessness (12 months or less). Subjects were 343 homeless male veterans receiving treatment for physical, mental, or substance abuse disorders at the West Los Angeles site of the Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans Program. Variables included history of homelessness, employment history, physical and mental health, substance abuse history, social and financial support, criminal history, age, ethnic group, education, military service, and program discharge status. Results: Veterans experiencing long-term homelessness were more likely to be white, to have had a longer period of recent homelessness and a greater number of homeless episodes, to have a poor employment history, to have symptoms of mental and substance abuse disorders, and to have weaker social support. Conclusions: Results show that variables besides duration of lifetime homelessness are important indicators of chronic homelessness.

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