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Moving on, not out: when young people remain homeless

Mayock, Paula; Corr, Mary-Louise; O'Sullivan, Eoin


Paula Mayock

Mary-Louise Corr

Eoin O'Sullivan


This article explores the contours of continued housing instability among a group of young people who are participants in a qualitative longitudinal study of youth homelessness in Dublin, Ireland, and considers the limitations of the ‘acculturation’ thesis in explaining long-term homelessness amongst the young. Baseline interviews were conducted with 40 young people, aged 14–23 years, in 2004, and follow-up interviews were conducted with 30 research participants successfully ‘tracked’ in 2005–06. By the time of follow-up, 17 of those interviewed had exited homelessness and 13 remained homeless. The article focuses on the latter group with the aim of exploring the processes and experiences associated with their continued homelessness. The findings presented demonstrate the adverse impact of their ongoing movement through emergency services targeting the under-18s, including their greater immersion in drug and criminal lifestyles. A majority had experienced one or more period of incarceration by the time of follow-up, and many were users of adult homeless services. Whilst some dimensions of young people's accounts are suggestive of a process of acculturation to street and hostel life, we argue that their continued homelessness is better explained as a consequence of their ongoing and unresolved transience and, in particular, their continued dependence on emergency hostel accommodation. The implications of the findings for policy and service provision for homeless young people are discussed.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2013-06
Deposit Date Jun 12, 2013
Print ISSN 1367-6261
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 4
Pages 441-459
Keywords Homelessness; young people; remaining homeless; qualitative longitudinal research; Ireland;
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