The Causes of Homelessness in Urban Areas

Chanley M. Martin, The College of Wooster


The purpose of thi s paper is to determi ne the causes of home 1 essness in urban areas in the United States. This paper is divided into four chapters: Theory, Review of Previous Literature, Methodology, and Findings. The hypothesis is that the cost of rental housing, unemployrnent, deinstHutionallzation, and federal funding changes are causing homelessness. The sample consisted of 50 metropolitan areas around the United States for which homeless figures were avallable. Regression analysis was used to determine the correlation bet ween the independent Yari ab 1 es and the dependent vari 6b 1 e, home 1 essness. Three Yari6bles were statistically significant in explaining homelessness: percentage change in the number of AFDC recipients from 1980 to 1984, median rent price for contract rent in 1980, and percentage of the civilian labor force unemployed in 1983. Twenty-three percent of the variation in the dependent variable (homelessness) was explained by the Yariation in the independent variables. Deinstitutionalization had a minimal effect on homelessness, but it was not statistically significant through the majority of the regressions. The use of rent control also did not have 8 significant effect on homelessness. Only in New York City did rent control raise rent prices, which are correlated with homelessness. There were problems with getting data for the same time period and with obtaining reliable homeless figures, which are probably affecting the results.


© Copyright 1988 Chanley M. Martin