Doubled-Up Homeless Study
This exploration of doubling up from both the interviews and from case
records showed the predominance of young, poorly educated females.
Doubling up prior to homelessness is a reflection of economic instability.
Many of the doubled-up arrangements were brief in duration. Family
members, often parents, and generally females, hosted most arrangements
although nearly one-third were doubled up with friends. Most arrangements
were based on an agreement between guest and host, although many ended
in conflict. Despite the breakdown and subsequent failure of the
doubled-up arrangement, most guests continued to receive some type of support
from their hosts after they moved out.
The findings suggest that the length of the double up was related to
the guest's contribution to the household, with the doubled-up arrangement
being a transfer of money and services from guest to host in return for
shelter. Regardless of why those interviewed doubled up, all became
homeless, and a sizeable portion were homeless one year after service contact
ended. Doubling up was a stressor to guest and host. It disrupted
the environment in the household as indicated by the places where guests
slept, and the concern about its effect on the entitlement benefits of
Social service providers should recognize the entire doubled-up household
as the 'client.' The management of the stress caused by doubling
up is an area for clinical intervention. Attention to the difficulties
faced by hosts as well as guests might make the doubled-up arrangements
less stressful. Enhancements might include financial incentives for
hosts such as tax credits, rent credits, monies to purchase needed household
goods, utility and goods vouchers, and space modification.
This study was funded by the New York State Department of Social Services,
Local Initiative Grant to JBFCS.
Under direction of Dr. Ruth Fangmeier
A study of the formerly doubled up, or persons who had joined another household
and then subsequently became homeless, was conducted by Dr. Ruth Fangmeier.
One hundred forty-seven cases of formerly doubled up were identified among
clients served by JBFCS homeless projects, and 45 of these clients participated
in in-depth interviews on their experiences.
The study was described in the 1990
Practice & Research.