Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


Planning and Urban Studies

Major Professor

Stich, Bethany

Second Advisor

Marla Nelson

Third Advisor

D'Lane Compton



Six subtopics are found throughout homeless-related literature including definitions of homelessness, mental health, substance abuse, policy, housing models, and COVID-19. Through conduction of 323 homeless lived experience surveys across 15 diverse cities in the United States, this research has found assumptions and conclusions between firsthand perspective and literature’s subtopics. A major gap in literature exists with the inclusion of lived experience, as this was routinely an emphasized response from the homeless population themselves. Alternate needs and solutions were proposed from the participants, which found general similarities to the subtopics and included significance of perceived apathy from politicians towards the homeless community. This research suggests a need for greater inclusion of lived experience in the policy making process, as well as throughout the literature for a more accurate depiction of what the population needs. The importance of such inclusion is vital due to the impact COVID-19 is projected to have on rising homeless population counts. While the six subtopics are critical to analyze throughout homeless-related research, the inclusion of lived experience is the largest gap, yet the most critical to fill in hopes of reducing homeless counts in the United States.

Keywords: homelessness, policy, homeless perspective, lived experience


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

Available for download on Tuesday, December 17, 2024