V anderbilt u niversity Center for Community Studies


Homelessness Interview Protocol: Person Experiencing Homelessness



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Homelessness Interview Protocol: Person Experiencing Homelessness
Hello. My name is Courte and I'm doing a study on housing and the experience of homelessness. I am from the Center for Community Studies at Peabody College where we are interested in permanent supportive housing for people who are on the streets or in shelters. Can I ask you a few questions about your experiences for this study? The interview will last about 30 minutes and I'll record the interview. I won't include your name or any information that would make your answers identifiable. If you'll take part in this interview, I will read an agreement to you that explains possible benefits and risks for you and the community. Or, if you prefer, you can read it yourself. You will need to sign a copy and can keep a copy if you'd like. The signed copy will be kept separate from your interview answers. Thank you for your time.


  1. How long have you been living on the streets or in shelters?

    1. [IF NECESSARY:] Have you been homeless for over a year?

    2. Where do you generally sleep at night?

    3. How many times in your life have you had to live on the streets, in shelters, in a car, or crashing with friends for free?

    4. In the past three years, how much time have you spent living on the streets, in shelters, in a car, or crashing with friends for free?

    5. Does your living situation change by season?

    6. When was the last time you paid rent or a mortgage for an apartment or house?

The next few questions are asking about you experience while homeless. Please only include information regarding time in a shelter, on the streets, in a car, or crashing with friends for free.



  1. While you were homeless, did you ever go to the hospital, clinics, doctors, or seek medical care from anyone?

    1. How was your care paid for? Did the clinic or hospital charge you? [IF YES:] Do you have health insurance? Did you pay for it? Did someone else help pay for it?

    2. How did you get to the hospital, clinic, or doctor?

    3. How many times in the last 3 years have you gotten medical care?

    4. Did any of those require an overnight stay at the hospital? How many total nights did you stay in the hospital over the past 3 years?

    5. Do you have any medical conditions that require regular care?

  2. While you were homeless, were you ever a patient in a mental hospital or clinic?

    1. How was your care paid for? Did the clinic or hospital charge you? [IF YES:] Do you have health insurance? Did you pay for it? Did someone else help pay for it?

    2. How many times in the last 3 years have you gotten psychiatric or psychological care?

    3. Did any of those require an overnight stay in a treatment facility? How many total nights did you stay in the hospital over the past 3 years?

  3. While you were homeless, were you ever a patient in a drug or alcohol treatment facility?

    1. How was your care paid for? Did the clinic charge you? [IF YES:] Do you have health insurance? Did you pay for it? Did someone else help pay for it?

    2. How many times in the last 3 years have you gotten psychiatric or psychological care?

    3. Did any of those require an overnight stay in a treatment facility? How many total nights did you stay in the hospital over the past 3 years?

  4. Are there any other kinds of services you have used while you were homeless?

    1. What were those?

    2. When did you receive those services?

    3. Where did you receive those services?

  5. While you were homeless, were you ever locked-up or arrested?

    1. If so, how many times have you been arrested in the last 3 years?

    2. How much total time did you have to spend in jail or prison?

  6. If you could have a home with access to all of the places and services that you need, would you live there?

    1. If this home didn't include any services, would you still live there?

    2. If you had to choose between a permanent home and permanent services, which would you choose?

  7. Do you currently have a job?

    1. If yes, how long have you had your job?

    2. How many hours can you manage to work while homeless?

    3. About how much do you get paid?

    4. What kind of jobs can you do?

  8. What has led to you being homeless?

    1. Eviction?

    2. Illness?

    3. Job loss?

  9. Do you live alone or with family members?

  10. Have you ever been diagnosed with a mental illness, alcohol dependence or abuse, or substance dependence or abuse?

  11. Have you ever been a victim of domestic abuse or institutional abuse?

    1. Is this one of the reasons for your homelessness?

  12. Do you have access to a bank?

    1. Where do you cash checks?

    2. How do you save money?

  13. What do you think people need to get off the street?

    1. What do you need to get off the streets?

I have just a few more questions to help us get a fuller picture of the kinds of people who are homeless in Nashville.



  1. What year were you born?

  2. Would you define yourself as:

    1. White or Caucasian?

    2. Black or African American?

    3. Latino or Hispanic?

    4. Indian or Native American?

    5. Asian?

  3. How long have you lived in Nashville?

  4. Are you a veteran of the armed forces?

  5. What is your yearly income?

  6. Are you single, married, divorced, widowed?

  7. [Time permitting]Please describe a usual day for you, including people and places that you encounter

  8. Do you have anything else to add to this interview?

Thank you for your time. If you have any questions, please contact me using the information on the confidentiality agreement.



  1. [MARK SEX: MALE/FEMALE]




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