Date of Award
Graduate School of Social Work
Jennifer H. Wilson
Income, Guaranteed income, Homelessness
The number of projects exploring guaranteed income, or unconditional direct cash transfers, in the United States has exploded in recent years (Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, 2022a). Between June 2021 and June 2022, the number of city mayors engaged with the group Mayors for Guaranteed Income grew from 11 to 82 (Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, 2022b) and as of Winter 2023, there were over 90 guaranteed income demonstrations and projects in the United States (Guaranteed Income Community of Practice, 2023). Guaranteed income refers to direct cash transfers, often to targeted populations, that are unconditional, consistent, predictable, and flexible (Castro Baker, 2020). While guaranteed income is gaining traction as a policy response to poverty, there is limited research exploring it as a response specifically to homelessness.
The three manuscripts in this dissertation interrogate direct cash transfers as a response to homelessness from different perspectives: what we already understand about existing government direct cash transfers for people who are unhoused and, through quantitative and qualitative inquiry, how guaranteed income may be associated with outcomes for people who are unhoused. Using structural social work as a theoretical framework, the specific aims of this dissertation are to 1) examine the impact of existing government cash assistance for adults experiencing homelessness in the United States, 2) use event history analysis to test the impact of a guaranteed income on housing outcomes for people who are unhoused, and 3) explore the participant-perceived outcomes of guaranteed income, including the role that services play, through qualitative interviews.
The findings described in this dissertation show mixed results, but suggest that direct cash transfers, and guaranteed income specifically, have the potential to benefit those who are unhoused. The studies included in the systematic review show that existing government direct cash programs are associated with positive outcomes for people who are unhoused. While the event history analysis did not show statistically significant differences in the proportion of people who became housed during the first 1 to 4 months of participation in a guaranteed income project, the qualitative findings highlight the benefits that guaranteed income can have for participants.
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Katherine Hoops Calhoun
Received from ProQuest
Calhoun, Katherine Hoops, "Guaranteed Income as a Structural Social Work Response to Homelessness in the United States" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2237.
Available for download on Friday, August 01, 2025