Correlates of shelter use among young adults experiencing homelessnessedit
Rates of shelter use among young adults (ages 18–24) experiencing homelessness are disproportionally low, compared to youth or older adults experiencing homelessness. The high unsheltered rate exposes these young adults to significant short- and long-term risks, while shelter use is associated with positive and improved outcomes, including increased access to other supportive services. Few studies have focused on factors related to low rates of shelter use among young adults or on the relative importance of such factors. The present study examines a series of background and contextual factors that are associated with shelter use among young adults experiencing homelessness. Using survey data (n = 338) collected in Houston, Texas, this study employs multiple logistic regression to examine correlates of shelter use and to assess the relative importance of each factor. Results indicate several significant characteristics were positively associated with shelter use, including being female, being non-white, using other types of services, and Internet use. We highlight research, practice, and policy implications around understanding differences in shelter and drop-in center use and ensuring young adults can find and access shelters with services geared toward their age group.