Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Danya Keene


Despite significant efforts to address the issue of homelessness in the United States over the past several decades, over 500,000 individuals still experience homelessness on any given night. A large portion of this persistent and high rate of homelessness can likely be attributed to the shortage of affordable housing options, the eviction crisis, and limited financial support for rental assistance found throughout the country. However, administrative burdens may also contribute to the high rate of homelessness being seen.Our study explores this question by examining 28 individuals’ experience of administrative burden when navigating the landscape of homeless assistance services in New Haven, Connecticut. Our analysis describes the learning, compliance and psychological costs individuals face at the onset of homelessness, when in a temporary living environment (i.e., shelter, unsheltered, hotel), and when trying to transition between living locations. Our findings suggest that the administrative burdens embedded within homeless assistance services may lead to individuals’ underutilization of services and experience of homelessness being prolonged. Further, these costs may reinforce existing inequities within society, as they tend to disproportionately impact those in greatest need. We conclude with recommendations to reduce administrative burden within homeless assistance services where possible and make greater investments in homeless assistance and housing resources nationwide.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access

Included in

Public Health Commons