How can relocating services away from a downtown center change the transportation decisions and patterns for persons experiencing homelessness? And how do those changes affect access to the services they need? New research from the University of Utah (UU) examines the impacts of decentralizing homeless service locations through a case study in Salt Lake County, Utah. 

Prior to 2019, resources for people experiencing homelessness in the county were concentrated in a single location: The Road Home – a nonprofit social services agency located downtown within the free fare zone for TRAX light rail. In 2019, Salt Lake County transitioned to a decentralized, scattered site model with multiple shelter locations. The downtown shelter closed and three new Homeless Resource Centers (HRCs), operated by various providers, were opened outside of downtown Salt Lake City.

Funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), researchers Sarah Canham, Jeff Rose, Ivis Garcia Zambrana, and Shannon Jones of UU surveyed clients of the three new HRCs (106 respondents) and conducted qualitative interviews with 19 HRC clients who had previously accessed services at the old downtown shelter. They also interviewed 24...

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Note: In advance of the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting, the biggest forum on the transportation research calendar, OTREC.us is profiling some of the researchers who will present their work.

In a session titled "Living Within the Right-of-Way: New Address for the Homeless," OTREC researcher Andrée Tremoulet will give a lectern presentation about her research into homelessness.

Encampments of homeless individuals and families living in state department of transportation rights of way often pose a unique challenge for DOT staff responsible for maintaining the public land.

The solution, as described in Tremoulet's report, is as complex and multifaceted as the problem.

In cases where urban campers need to be relocated, for the process to be humane and successful Tremoulet stresses that it must be achieved through a cooperative effort between community orgnizations.

She advocates using a "push/pull" method, combining the "push" of law enforcement to clear the public land with the "pull" of assistance and housing programs to give homeless individuals direction, and a place to go.

The most important thing to remember, she says, is that no situation is alike and every set of circumstances will require a unique, tailored approach.

Following the publication of this OTREC project about a homeless relocation effort in...

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OTREC researchers dedicated some time to helping Department of Transportation staff members face a problem that isn’t strictly part of their job description: how best to deal with homeless individuals and households living in DOT rights-of-way and rest areas.
 
As owners of some of the largest stretches of public land, DOTs have to maintain the land for public use, but may lack resources to address the social welfare aspects of the stewardship of public land.
 
Homeless individuals and families sometimes seek shelter in rest areas, drawn to the facilities available there. When an established homeless encampment begins to interfere with the rest area’s intended function or threaten the safety of its users, the state DOT may need to intervene.
 
In 2010, the Baldock Restoration Group relocated 37 homeless households from the Baldock Rest Area near Wilsonville, Oregon. Due to its scale, the Baldock Rest Area relocation provided OTREC researchers with a unique opportunity to analyze the process and consider how best to respond to issues of this nature in the future.
Investigators Ellen Bassett and Andrée Tremoulet of Portland State University set out to determine the extent to which homeless...
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PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

OVERVIEW

Drawing from the framework of social determinants of health, the objective of this study is to investigate the cross-sectional association between transportation-related factors and self-perceived physical health among adults in the U.S.

Data for this study were derived from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey. An analytic sample of 71,235 respondents aged 18 and 64 years was analyzed using binary logistic regression. Of the 71,235 respondents examined, 8.9% perceived their physical health to be poor. About 36% of the respondents had fewer vehicles per individuals in the household.

Controlling for the effects of other factors, respondents who had fewer vehicles per individuals in the household were 1.27 times more likely to report poor self-perceived physical health when compared to their counterparts with more vehicles per individuals in the household (AOR=1.27, 95% CI=1.17-1...

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