Women and homelessness, a complex multidimensional issue: findings from a scoping review [2018]

Homelessness is an increasingly prevalent issue worldwide. Women represent the fastest growing segment of the homeless population and have differing needs to men. These differences need to be considered by service providers and other stakeholders working with homeless women. A scoping review was conducted to address the question “What is known about issues relating to homeless women in the existing literature?” PubMed, PsycInfo, Embase, CINAHL, Scopus and Web of Science were searched up until March 2018 with no date limits. The final sample of articles included in this scoping study was 232 from which six themes were extracted: (1) pathways into homelessness, (2) trauma, victimization and adverse childhood experiences, (3) mental and physical health issues, (4) barriers to accessing treatment and experiences with service providers, (5) social support and life satisfaction and (6) strengths, hopes and leaving homelessness. This review suggests a strengths-based approach to addressing women’s homelessness. This approach emphasizes people’s self-determination and strengths and views clients as resilient to problems they encounter in their lives. Future research and service provision should take into account the complexities in the lives of homeless women and recognize the autonomy of women to move out of homelessness.

Monique Phipps, Lisa Dalton, Hazel Maxwell & Michelle Cleary

Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 15 Oct 2018