Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Social Work

Document Type



The purpose of this study was to identify commonalities in life events preceding a first episode of homelessness for women living in shelters in Texas. This built on the work of Nooe & Patterson (2010) who identified fourteen factors that contributed to increased risk of homelessness as visualized in the Ecology of Homelessness. While based on existing literature at the time, Nooe & Patterson may not have heard clearly the voices of women with lived experience. The current study sought to explore how these risk factors manifest in the lived experiences of women residing in Texas homeless shelters.

The significance of this study extended beyond contribution to the literature and into the personal lives of each participant. Use of open-ended, versus closed-ended, questions created an opening for authentic engagement for each woman as they were empowered to form their narrative in a way that diverged from more structured forms of data collection and thereby honored them as the experts on their journey. Virtual interviews with twelve women living in homeless shelters in Texas informed the findings of this study which identified 32 shared experiences. Through an inductive process of discovery, three primary themes emerged from the data and included relationships, victimization, and agency. These key concepts arose during interview after interview and served as the framework for the Life Model of Homelessness.

Committee Chair

Livermore, Michelle M.



Available for download on Monday, April 07, 2025

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