Touched by homelessness: an examination of hospitality for the down and out

Am J Public Health. 2002 Jan;92(1):116-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.1.116.


Objectives: This study investigated patterns of "doubled-up" homelessness using an indirect measure based on host households.

Methods: In random household telephone surveys conducted in Alabama between 1990 and 2000 and nationally in 1997, respondents indicated whether any individual had stayed with them during the past year because that person was homeless.

Results: The percentage of Alabama households providing shelter during the past year declined from 16.2% in 1990 to 7.1% in 2000. The national rate for providing shelter in 1997 was 18.0%.

Conclusions: Many households provide shelter to people to prevent them from being literally homeless. As the economy has expanded, these rates have declined in Alabama.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alabama
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Data Collection
  • Family
  • Female
  • Helping Behavior*
  • Homeless Youth
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons*
  • Income
  • Male
  • Time Factors