Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Social Science Research 41 (2012), pp. 612–623; doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2011.12.011


Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


Our paper examines service usage (e.g., shelter) as well as a typology of individuals who are most likely to use groupings of services among 249 homeless youth. Our results revealed that the majority of homeless young people have used food programs (66%) and street outreach (65%) on at least one occasion within the past year. Cluster analysis of services revealed four distinct groups: (1) basic survival service use, characterized by above average shelter, food, and outreach service use, but below average on counseling, substance abuse/ mental health services, and incarceration; (2) multiple service use, which included above average use of all six services; (3) incarceration experience, characterized by above average incarceration experience, but below average use of all other five services; and (4) minimal service use, which included slightly above average use of counseling, but below average use of all other services. These findings have the potential to provide important information that may assist with targeting services to homeless youth.