Person sleeping on a bench under the lights of the city, early in the morning at the embarcadero San Francisco, CA

Both “Time” and “Place” are Important to Define Homelessness

“Time (duration of homelessness) and place (living arrangements) appear to be two dimensions of homelessness necessary for an operational definition that facilitates subgroup differentiation and increases understanding of the dynamics of homelessness.

They conceptualized “homelessness” as a continuous variable that can be described by coordinates of time and place.  The degree of severity can be measure by the degree to which people lack the residency and  the time they are exposed to homelessness.

Their data results suggest that homelessness can be quantified and differentiated along meaningful dimensions, such as severity, that have ramifications for programming and policy formulation. Their study has important implications for further research on other important dimensions of homelessness, in addition to residency and time.

Argeriou, M, McCarty, and Mulvey, K (1995) stated that one significant hindrance to study on homelessness has been the lack of universal and operational definitions of “homelessness.” Researchers and policy makers have relied on varying and fragmented definitions of “homelessness,” which culminate in inconsistent research results and policy implementations.  Argeriou, M, McCarty, and Mulvey, K (1995) developed the empirical use of duration of homelessness and dwelling place as elements of an operational definition of homelessness.


Argeriou, M, McCarty, and Mulvey, K (1995). Dimensions of Homelessness. Public Health Reports. 110 (6): pp. 734-741.


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