Emerging Adult Homelessness in Geographic Perspective: A View from the Rust Belt.

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Graduate School of Social Work


This study provides a place-centered analysis of homelessness among emerging adults (age 18–24) by examining this issue in the context of the U.S. Rust Belt. In-depth interviews were conducted with a diverse sample of 30 homeless young adults in the small post-industrial city of Buffalo, New York. Our qualitative analysis focused on how place intersects with other factors to shape participants' experiences of homelessness and their views of the city and local social services. Participants described a sense of limited opportunity in Buffalo as well as the frustration that the service spectrum was too small, yet confusing to navigate. These findings point to directions for expanding employment prospects and housing and service options for homeless young adults in small cities.

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