Date of Award

Summer 8-18-2023

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




James Artesani

Second Committee Member

Janet Fairman

Third Committee Member

Judith Josiah-Martin

Additional Committee Members

Catharine Biddle

Sarah Boz


Building on the long-term benefits of early homelessness prevention and intervention. And scaling up support for single parents with children is essential to improving economic status, good health, human capital, and well-being across all areas of life expectancy. Chronically homeless people, homeless veterans, and homeless families have all been the subject of specific studies. Yet only a few studies have investigated single mothers' return to homelessness (Anderson, 2021). Studies suggest that between 4 and 25 percent of women, who were previously homeless, end up using shelter services again, despite being provided with "permanent" housing (Johnson, 2016). This indicates that, as significant as the problem of repeated homelessness is, there are some gaps in the literature and knowledge about this phenomenon. It is clear from previous research that recurrent homelessness deserves special attention because it can presage a chronically homeless trajectory (McQuistion et al., 2014).

Based on the factors identified in the literature, this qualitative exploratory study gathered data, using semi-structured interviews, to understand the phenomenon through the prism of complex and feminist theories. The study utilized an interpretative phenomenological approach to explore and describe the experiences and perceptions of nineteen (19) interviewed women experiencing the phenomenon of recurrent homelessness. This study is grounded in two theories, complex systems theory and feminist theory. This study provides additional insights into why and when single women with children return to homelessness. Furthermore, this study revealed two contributing factors, personal and societal, and two new insights that hitherto were not mentioned in research literature. These insights will assist public health planners and policymakers, as well as greatly enhance homelessness intervention and prevention.