Date of Publication

Spring 1-17-2018


Introduction. Homeless individuals are at an increased risk for both physical and mental health comorbidities compared to those with stable housing. Prior studies have demonstrated that many of these individuals do not seek or receive proper medical care. This study provides a landscape analysis of health characteristics in the single adult homeless population in Chittenden County, Vermont.

Methods. Interviews were conducted using a modified version of the Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool to determine vulnerability indices across a range of different health and social wellness domains. Single home- less adults were sampled from community self-help clinics and transitional living and homeless shelters from September to November 2017.

Results. 56 in-person surveys were conducted. Mean age of participants was 45.3 years and over half were male (63%). Extended periods or multiple episodes of homelessness were experienced most by those who reported sleeping outdoors (89%); this group also reported the highest use of emergency services (47%). The highest incidence of abuse/trauma as a contributing factor for homelessness was reported most in the 18-30 age group (71%) and least in the above 51 age group (35%). Nearly all participants owned a cell phone (86%).

Conclusions. Single homeless adults self-reported a variety of health and social is- sues, including substance abuse, increased emergency department use, and in- creased abuse, trauma, and deteriorated social relationships. This study highlights different risk factors that contribute to homelessness in this select population. Future research should evaluate how to individually address these vulnerabilities to optimize health care and well-being.


Virginia Hood

UVM Larner College of Medicine

Christopher Brzovic

Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity


Access to Health Services, Health-Related Quality of Life & Well-Being, Substance Abuse

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

Health and Housing Trends of Single Homeless Adults in Chittenden County, Vermont