Student Author(s)

Makayla Wilson, Hope College

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Virginia Beard, Political Science

Document Type


Event Date



Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one area tragically impacted has been access to secure housing. The huge economic impacts of the shutdowns and job losses of the pandemic prompted the federal as well as state governments to provide emergency resources for help keep people housed as well as to help those without housing to secure a place to live. These interventions have had many important impacts. They have not, however, reduced or ended the rising levels of homelessness nationally since 2016. The result is an increasingly visible epidemic of unsheltered homelessness, affecting both individuals and families. When analyzing factors influencing those who are experiencing housing insecurities, individual factors, as well as systemic factors, are contributing to the ongoing issue. In regards to individual factors, mental health continues to influence homelessness, becoming a crucial factor with the deinstitutionalization in the 1960s and 1970s. This study proposes to examine the impact of mental health as a crucial factor among many that predicts and results from experiences of homelessness, exploring potential solutions to prevent mental health, in the context of other factors, from leading to homelessness in the ways currently occurring.