Youth experiencing transitional and temporary homelessness: A pilot study

Document Type


Publication Date



Social Work

Publication Title

Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing


Homeless youth represent a vulnerable and understudied population, particularly those among them who are hidden, experiencing transitional or temporary homelessness. Little research focuses on this group, including the methods and settings to identify and tailor interventions to their circumstances. Given the immediate risks and possible transition to chronic homelessness, their identification is critical for prevention and intervention efforts. This exploratory pilot study investigated transitional and temporary homelessness among youth. The study demonstrated the ability to identify such participants. Twenty participants completed a survey that measured demographics, behavioral risk factors, and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI; Derogatis, 1993). Reports of relationships with parents varied. They included positive maternal relationships, but also concerns about intrafamilial conflict. While frequent change of schools was reported, generally positive feelings toward school were expressed. Social relationships suggest limited exposure to other homeless youth. Some substance abuse was noted, possibly at lower rates than expected for hard drugs. The BSI results are suggestive of health concerns. The study demonstrated that it is possible to capture children experiencing transitional or temporary homelessness in alternative school settings. It is essential that efforts be made to identify them and provide early supports toward preventing chronic homelessness.

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