Met and unmet needs of homeless individuals at different stages of housing reintegration: A mixed-method investigation

PLoS One. 2021 Jan 14;16(1):e0245088. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0245088. eCollection 2021.


This study aimed to identify and compare major areas of met and unmet needs reported by 455 homeless or recently housed individuals recruited from emergency shelters, temporary housing, and permanent housing in Quebec (Canada). Mixed methods, guided by the Maslow framework, were used. Basic needs were the strongest needs category identified, followed by health and social services (an emergent category), and safety; very few participants expressed needs in the higher-order categories of love and belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization. The only significant differences between the three housing groups occurred in basic needs met, which favored permanent housing residents. Safety was the only category where individuals reported more unmet than met needs. The study results suggested that increased overall access to and continuity of care with family physicians, MD or SUD clinicians and community organizations for social integration should be provided to help better these individuals. Case management, stigma prevention, supported employment programs, peer support and day centers should particularly be more widely implemented as interventions that may promote a higher incidence of met needs in specific needs categories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quebec
  • Social Welfare*

Grant support

This article is based on research funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Project # 435-2016-0761. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.