Typologizing Temporality: Time‐Aggregated and Time‐Patterned Approaches to Conceptualizing Homelessness

McAllister, William; Kuang, Li; Lennon, Mary Clare

This article employs a relatively new method to construct time‐based typologies of homelessness, arguing that time‐aggregated typologies in previous research lose useful information by summing, averaging, or otherwise summarizing events that occur over time. This study instead proposes a time‐patterned approach that measures the timing, duration, and sequence of events as they unfurl over time. It first compares the two approaches by examining support for a theorized three‐category typology analyzed by Randall Kuhn and Dennis Culhane. Both approaches identify the three groups initially found by Kuhn and Culhane, but the time‐patterned approach performs marginally better. Both analyses leave too much heterogeneity in the groups, and the initial theory for the three categories is not robust. These deficiencies suggest the utility of further analysis. Using a time‐patterned analysis, this study then identifies 10 temporally based homeless groups that strongly differ from the three groups found by Kuhn and Culhane. It then organizes these 10 groups into four sets of groups and speculates about how structural factors and individual traits can combine to generate these categories.


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Social Service Review

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Academic Units
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy
Published Here
July 23, 2012