Patterns of homelessness and housing instability and the relationship with mental health disorders among young people transitioning from out-of-home care: Retrospective cohort study using linked administrative data

Fadzai Chikwava, Melissa O’Donnell, Anna Ferrante, Eduwin Pakpahan, Reinie Cordier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives:
The study examined the relationship between mental health, homelessness and housing instability among young people aged 15–18 years old who transitioned from out-of-home in 2013 to 2014 in the state of Victoria, Australia with follow-up to 2018. We determined the various mental health disorders and other predictors that were associated with different levels of homelessness risk, including identifying the impact of dual diagnosis of mental health and substance use disorder on homelessness.
Methodology:
Using retrospective de-identified linked administrative data from various government departments we identified various dimensions of homelessness which were mapped from the European Topology of Homelessness (ETHOS) framework and associated mental health variables which were determined from the WHO ICD-10 codes. We used ordered logistic regression and Poisson regression analysis to estimate the impact of homelessness and housing instability respectively.
Results:
A total homelessness prevalence of 60% was determined in the care-leaving population. After adjustment, high risk of homelessness was associated with dual diagnosis of mental health and substance use disorder, intentional self-harm, anxiety, psychotic disorders, assault and maltreatment, history of involvement with the justice system, substance use prior to leaving care, residential and home-based OHC placement and a history of staying in public housing.
Conclusions:
There is clearly a need for policy makers and service providers to work together to find effective housing pathways and integrated health services for this heterogeneous group of vulnerable young people with complex health and social needs. Future research should determine longitudinally the bidirectional relationship between mental health disorders and homelessness.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0274196
Number of pages23
JournalPLoS One
Volume17
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2022

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