Methodologies for Examining Homelessness and Their Application to a Mandated Statewide Study

Using findings from a federally mandated statewide study of homelessness in the state of Iowa, this article presents methodologies developed to address various aspects of homeless research, including enumeration of the population, screening for reporting duplications, estimating the annual number of incidents of homelessness, and exploring county-level estimates of homelessness. After implementing an algorithm to eliminate duplicate reporting, and using the baseline unduplicated, reported number of homeless persons, a statewide estimate of individuals who are homeless was derived. Following further adjustments for differences in agency reporting practices and after extrapolating for nonreported time periods, the authors estimated the number of unique incidents of homelessness experienced in the state during 1997. The policy implications are discussed. (Authors)

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Policy Studies Journal