Sunday, January 17, 2016

Psychosis, Lack of Job Skills, and Criminal History: Associations with Employment in Two Samples of Homeless Men

This study examined factors associated with employment among homeless men with mental illness, particularly history of criminal justice involvement.

Data from 569 homeless men in the 11-site Collaborative Initiative to Help End Chronic Homelessness (2004-2009) and 1,101 homeless male veterans in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program at 19 sites (1992-2003) were analyzed.

In neither sample was criminal or incarceration history significantly associated with job attainment or earnings for either black or white participants. In contrast, psychotic disorders and public-support income were negatively associated with job attainment and earnings. The majority of homeless veterans reported lifetime occupations as skilled or unskilled manual workers.

These findings highlight the high rate of nonemployment among homeless men and suggest that employment among homeless men is not significantly impeded by a criminal record but by psychiatric problems and reliance on public-support income.

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By:  Tsai J1Rosenheck RA1.
  • 1The authors are with the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs New England Health Care System, West Haven, Connecticut (e-mail: ). 

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