Healthcare Policy

Healthcare Policy 14(2) November 2018 : 40-46.doi:10.12927/hcpol.2018.25687
Data Matters

Borderline Intellectual Functioning and Lifetime Duration of Homelessness among Homeless Adults with Mental Illness

Anna Durbin, Yona Lunsky, Ri Wang, Rosane Nisenbaum, Stephen W. Hwang, Patricia O'Campo and Vicky Stergiopoulos


This paper reports on the association between intellectual functioning and lifetime homelessness duration among 172 homeless adults with mental illness in Toronto, Canada. Using a standardized test of intellectual functioning, we created two groups: individuals with borderline or lower intellectual functioning (16%) and individuals with above borderline intellectual functioning (84%). Lifetime homelessness duration was approximately three years longer, or almost twice as long, for individuals with borderline or lower intellectual functioning. Implementing more systematic strategies for identifying and supporting individuals with cognitive impairments may hasten transitions out of homelessness for this population. Brief intellectual functioning assessment tools are available.



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