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    Mobility-Related Barriers to Accessing Homeless Services: Implications for Continuums of Care and Coordinated Entry

    Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research

    Year: 2023

    Objective: Geographic mobility, or transience, is relatively common among people experiencing homelessness. However, little is known about whether mobility facilitates or impedes service access. The present research uses a lens of bureaucratic disentitlement and administrative burden to explore the intersection of geographic mobility and adult homeless service use, with special attention paid to understanding dynamics between local and federal policy implementation. Method: Maximum variation sampling was used to recruit 23 homeless service providers from Continuums of Care (CoCs) in urban and rural counties in New York State. Data were collected through semistructured qualitative interviews and analyzed using an iterative first- and second-cycle coding procedure to build themes. Findings: Participants described two mobility-related barriers to accessing services that stem from service system policies, procedures, and resources. First, county-level policy can both disincentivize and create mobility. Second, mobility can hinder the initial stages of the coordinated entry process. Conclusions: Geographic mobility matters when understanding access to emergency shelter and services. Service system procedures and governing policies can create administrative burdens and other barriers to services for individuals with a history of mobility or transience. Theoretical and practice contributions are discussed, including strategies for working with local government and improving coordinated entry systems.

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