Date of Conferral







Ruth Crocker


In the United States, it is estimated that millions of adults are homeless. Some individuals choose not to use homeless shelters or are ineligible for their use. Researchers have indicated that many unsheltered homeless are men over the age of 45 years. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the experiences with social services providers among unsheltered men. Understanding the social networks of unsheltered homeless and the use of spirituality or faith as a resource for coping was also examined, as a significant gap exists in the research on unsheltered homeless. Face-to-face, in-depth interviews were conducted with 8 men age 45 years and older to explore the lived experience of being unsheltered. A social constructivism framework and the theory of social capital were used to guide the data interpretation. Using the Giorgi data analysis method for inductive data analysis, 4 themes emerged from the data. The themes were difficulties and complexities of being unsheltered, barriers to becoming sheltered, specific needs of unsheltered homeless men, and the way in which faith sustains the unsheltered. The results of the study can promote positive social change by helping policy makers understand the unique needs of unsheltered men. As such, a reduction in the number of homeless living on the street can occur by reallocating funding to programs that address the unmet needs of unsheltered individuals.