A Study of the Risks and Resilience of Unstably Housed Youth

SHARE YOUR STORY WITH US! You can participate in this study if:

  • You are a young person between the age of 14 and 24
  • You recently experienced housing instability and were not with your parent or guardian during this time

Your information would help us better understand the health risks for unstably housed youth in small urban areas and how to improve supports and services to address the risks effectively.

If you are interested in participating in the study, click here (SURVEY HAS CLOSED) to complete a 2-minute screener survey to see if you qualify.

  • If you qualify, you will have the opportunity to participate in the study survey which will take about 30 minutes.
  • The survey is CONFIDENTIAL and completely voluntary. You will not be asked your name and will not be identified as participating in the study. You do not have to participate if you do not want to.
  • You will receive $20 for completing the survey. If you also participate in other parts of the study (like a follow-up interview or referring your peers into the study), you can receive up to $75.

Additional Information:

The study has two goals:

1. To collect information on the risk and resilience factors affecting homeless and unstably housed youth in small urban areas in Connecticut
2. To pilot test an internet-based peer recruitment strategy-called web-RDS for recruiting hard-to-reach groups of unstably housed youth who are not using services.

Web-RDS is a method for youth to refer other youth that they know through their online social networks via email, texting, social media, etc. It’s considered an effective recruitment strategy to reach vulnerable and hidden populations who are not using services, but hasn’t been tested to reach unstably housed youth.

One of the most vulnerable groups at risk of HIV infection is homeless and unaccompanied unstably housed (UUH) youth who are at 10 times the risk of acquiring HIV than other adolescents in the US. Increased HIV risk among UUH youth is well-established; however, what we know about UUH youth’s HIV risk patterns is largely based upon studies conducted on “literally” homeless youth populations (living in shelters, outside, etc) that reside in large urban areas. Understanding social-ecological determinants of HIV risk of UUH youth within small urban areas have been largely understudied, and very few studies have been able to successfully reach more hidden populations of UUH youth not involved in traditional services to gather information in order to better inform prevention that is effective for them. The proposed pilot study seeks to understand the HIV prevention needs of an understudied and hard to reach population of UUH youth living in three small urban areas in Connecticut with high HIV prevalence (Bridgeport, New Haven, and Hartford), and to pilot test an internet-based peer recruitment methodology (webRDS) to reach the most hidden UUH youth. Engagement of key community informants, a short online survey with 75 UUH youth, and follow-up in-depth interviews with a subset of 30 UUH youth will allow our team to explore the feasibility of using webRDS as a sampling method to generate a diverse sample of UUH youth and to gather much needed information on social-ecological features of small urban areas that could be utilized to meet HIV prevention needs of UUH youth.