Factors Associated with Effective Help-Seeking Behavior Among Homeless Persons: A Cross-Sectional Study of San Diego’s Street Homeless Population

The purpose of this study is to identify individual-level factors that are significantly associated with effective help-seeking behavior among San Diego’s street homeless population. Some persons living on the street are able to easily identify what they need and the services that might help them the most, i.e. their description of their problems/challenges matches well with the services they seek. On the other hand, some homeless persons have much more difficulty matching their problems with possible solutions. These individuals need interventions that are tailored to their understanding of themselves and their unique situations. While the issue of barriers to service access has received attention in recent years, gaps persist in the existing body of research into service utilization and help-seeking behaviors of homeless individuals. Using data from the 2009 San Diego RTFH Street Characteristics Survey, this research study aims to address this gap by identifying variables that are significantly associated with effective help-seeking behavior. The Street Characteristic Survey was designed to capture both quantitative and qualitative data from participating homeless individuals. Questions focused instead on basic demographics, military service, living situation, marital status, reasons for living in San Diego, length and description of homelessness, employment, income sources, education, health status, drug use, self-rating of health status, HIV status, service usage, perceived reasons for being homeless, services needs, service usage and if they have been a victim of violence.

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