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Research Snapshot: What Do We Know about Hispanic Families who Experience Homelessness?

Jill Khadduri, Douglas Walton, Michael López, and Martha R. Burt


October 4, 2017

The latest research snapshot from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Abt Global offers analysis on Hispanic families’ characteristics and experiences during and after a stay in emergency shelter. The document, “Research Snapshot: Hispanic Families Experiencing Homelessness,” is the sixth in a series that draw on data collected from the Family Options Study.

Findings from the latest research snapshot include:


  • Hispanic families who use emergency shelters showed some resilience in their housing stability and overall well-being. Twenty months after a shelter stay, fewer Hispanics were doubled up with another household than non-Hispanic African-American families, and Hispanic families had moved less frequently than either African-American or white non-Hispanic families;
  • Hispanic families in the northeast fared somewhat better than Hispanic families in the west. In the west, Hispanic families were more likely to have been homeless or doubled up in the past six months than Hispanic families in northeastern cities;
  • More Hispanic families in the West reported recent alcohol dependence or drug abuse 20 months after a shelter say and were less likely to have worked for pay in the prior week than their northeastern peers. Hispanic families in the west also reported more psychological distress than Hispanic families in the northeast;
  • Some of these regional differences were also present among non-Hispanic families. Both non-Hispanic white and African-American families in the west tended to have worse outcomes than northeastern families 20 months after a shelter stay, although not as much as Hispanic families.

This snapshot offers new information about how Hispanic families fare after experiencing homelessness. Additional evidence is needed to help policy makers and service providers understand how to reach these families experiencing homelessness and serve their needs.


North America