Men and women become and stay homeless for different reasons, but little research has examined how the gender identity of adults experiencing homelessness influences their goals. This study explored the life goals reported by homeless adults entering permanent supportive housing and how the goals differ by gender.

Key findings

  • 22% of women exiting homelessness reported education or health as a life goal.
  • 10% of men exiting homelessness viewed education or health as a life goal.
  • Women reported lower rates of achieving a high school education (69.2% versus 80.4% for men) and higher rates of having children (76.1% versus 56.7% for men).
  • Women reported lower rates of substance dependence (42.7% versus 59.1% for men) but higher rates of comorbid physical and mental health disorder diagnoses (60.7% versus 46.5% for men).
  • The authors suggest that policymakers and service providers should offer education and vocational training opportunities to women to help them achieve their goals and thrive in stable housing.