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Psychol Rep. 2009 Oct;105(2):481-99.

Homeless people who are animal caretakers: a comparative study.

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University of Tennessee College of Social Work, Knoxville, TN 37996-3333, USA.


Data from a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) were used to compare homeless people who report caring for animals with homeless people who do not report caring for animals, based on demographic variables and stated reasons for homelessness. Among homeless clients (N = 4,100; M age = 39 yr., SD 13.2), 5.5% reported animal caretaking; demographic differences between caretaking and not caretaking homeless clients and life factors related to homelessness were most often associated with animal caretaking. 41% of participants (n = 1,664) were female, and 59% (n = 2,436) were male. Findings suggest that first-time homeless, Euro-American women who were homeless due to domestic violence were the most likely to say they were caring for animals. The use of such an information system could aid in identifying this subpopulation and coordinating services for animal care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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