Identifying precursors of family homelessness to better understand occupational needs
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Homelessness is a worldwide epidemic (Dachner & Tarasuk, 2002). In the United States alone, an estimated 2.3 to 3.5 million people are homeless at any given time; about onethird of this population is children and youth (Rion, 2009). On any single night, there are between 1,750 and 1,900 adults, youth, and children experiencing homelessness in the Omaha metropolitan area (Owen et al., 2007). Thirty-seven percent of this population are single mothers who are homeless with their children (Owen et al., 2007). Various social, economic, environmental, and psychological factors lead families into homelessness. Experiencing these precursors can affect the occupational needs of this marginalized population at any age. This study is significant because the findings help guide towards minimizing precursors of homelessness and improving negative environments. By understanding the precursors associated with homelessness, prevention efforts and intervention resources can be utilized to help this population. More importantly, the findings of this study can better help community health occupational therapy practitioners understand the occupational needs of families facing homelessness.