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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Mothering in Public: A Meta-Synthesis of Homeless Women With Children Living in Shelters
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Families with children are one of the fastest growing subpopulations of the homeless in the United States. It is estimated that these families account for more than one third of the homeless population (National Coalition for
the Homeless [NCH], 2001).The primary causes for the increase in family homelessness are poverty, especially among single, female-headed households, and the lack of affordable housing (Choi & Snyder, 1999b). Also contributing to the rising numbers of homeless families with children are declining wages and changes in welfare programs (NCH). Within the past decade, an increasing number of qualitative studies focusing on homeless families, in particular on homeless women with children, have been conducted. Individually, the studies provide glimpses into the lives of homeless mothers and children. Jensen and Allen (1996) note that while being informative, individual studies do not always contribute significantly to the full understanding of the phenomenon of interest. In
order to enhance knowledge development regarding homeless mothers with children the individual studies must be synthesized. The purpose of this paper is to synthesize
qualitative findings relating to homeless mothers with children living in shelters. A qualitative metasynthesis is one such method to complete the synthesis. (Author)