Intellectual Disability and Homelessness: a Synthesis of the Literature and Discussion of How Supportive Housing Can Support Wellness for People with Intellectual Disability [2018]

Recent Findings
Although rates of intellectual disabilities (ID) may be elevated in homeless populations, there is little research on homeless adults with ID whose cognitive and adaptive functioning deficits may affect how they respond to usual supports.

Purpose of Review
This literature synthesis describes the prevalence of ID among homeless adults, the needs of adults experiencing homelessness who have ID, and discusses implications for providing Housing First to people with ID. Housing First is an evidence-based intervention commonly delivered to homeless populations.

People with ID are vastly overrepresented in homeless populations, with prevalence estimates ranging from 12–39% across countries, although none are population-based. Limited evidence also suggests that homeless people with ID may have more enduring needs than other homeless people, suggesting a need for longer term supports. More research will be instrumental in determining if Housing First models are appropriate for this population and if adaptations are necessary to account for their unique needs.

Anna Durbin, Barry Isaacs, Dane Mauer-Vakil, Jo Connelly, Lorie Steer, Sylvain Roy, Vicky Stergiopoulos

Current Developmental Disorders Reports, September 2018, Volume 5, Issue 3