Violence and Victimization among Older Homeless Adults: Results from the HOPE HOME Study

Summer 2017

Michelle Tong : Public Health, Molecular and Cell Biology

Donor: Banatao Fund
Mentor: Margot Kushel

Homeless individuals experience increased risk for violence and victimization on the streets and in shelters, as well as by spouses, partners and acquaintances. Older homeless adults suffer from even higher rates of violent attacks, although research is limited with regards to risk factors associated with violence and victimization. With half of single homeless adults in the U.S. aged 50 and older and the rising median age of single homeless adults population, understanding the prevalence and nature of violence in this sub-population is crucial to direct future targeted interventions targeting.

This work will attempt to identify the prevalence of recent and lifetime experiences of violence and victimization and its associated risk factors among
a local population-based sample of older homeless adults using data from the Health Outcomes of People Experiencing Homelessness in Older Middle Age (HOPE HOME) Study. The long-term goal of our study is to determine the prevalence, severity, trajectory and consequences of geriatric conditions in homeless adults age 50 and older, in order to guide prevention, healthcare, social service and housing interventions.

To SURF and the Banatao Fund, I am very grateful and humbled to have been given the opportunity to engage in the kind of meaningful research on homelessness. Taking the time to continue expanding upon my undergraduate thesis has allowed me to continue pushing myself to think both analytically and practically about my research work and its potential impact. As a budding researcher, pursuing more advanced science and higher level technical skills is invaluable to my career in public health research and aspirations to pursue work in public policy.