The effect of incarceration on housing stability among homeless and vulnerably housed individuals in three Canadian cities: A prospective cohort study


The objective of the study is to characterize the associations between a history of incarceration and subsequent housing stability over a two-year follow-up period among a sample of homeless and vulnerably housed individuals.


The study was a prospective cohort study of homeless and vulnerably housed adults in three Canadian cities. Between 2009 and 2012, data were collected using structured, in-person interviews at baseline and two follow-up interviews. Generalized estimating equations were employed to determine the association between reported incarceration within the past 12 months and being housed during the subsequent year over a two-year follow-up period.


Baseline data were available for 1,189 homeless and vulnerably housed adults. Recent incarceration was reported by 337 (29%) individuals at baseline. In adjusted analyses, incarceration in the past 12 months was independently associated with a decreased likelihood of being housed during the subsequent year over the two-year follow-up period (adjusted odds ratio = 0.67, 95% confidence interval: 0.50–0.90).


Homeless and vulnerably housed individuals reporting recent incarceration were less likely to be housed over a two-year follow-up period. These findings highlight the importance of assisting individuals experiencing incarceration with securing stable housing during discharge and post-release planning.

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Canadian Journal of Public Health