This article looks at homeless individuals to see how they think their residential situation affects their relationship with their non-homeless children. Using a survey of 75 homeless parents in Houston, Texas this analysis finds that homeless parents of non-homeless children believe that their living situation has a detrimental impact on their relationship with their children. While many respondents felt that they had a good relationship with their children the chances of maintaining a good relationship were less for respondents with adult children than minor children. While a majority of respondents with children felt that finding housing stability would help their relationship with their children, those with minority children were more optimistic that finding a permanent home would help them improve their parent-child relationship than those with older children.

Key Take Away Points

Homeless people, regardless of status, often have parental responsibilities that cannot be met because of their residential situation.

Homeless parents often do not have positive relationships with their children, especially their adult children.

Homeless parents often believe that they will improve their relationship with their children if permanent housing can be obtained.

Author Biography

Jonathan Holland is the Operations Director for The Beacon Day Center, Houston Texas’ largest provider of day services to the homeless. Jonathan is also a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Non-Profit Management program in the Department of Social Sciences at The University of Houston – Downtown. His background and interdisciplinary research focuses on the effects of long-term homelessness as well as understanding how new approaches in the homeless services community are changing the outlook for the future of homelessness both locally and nationally.

David Branham Sr., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the director of the Masters of Nonprofit Management program at the University of Houston-Downtown. He has published several articles on public opinion and public policy in journals such as Social Science Quarterly, The Review of Black Political Economy, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, National Social Science Journal, Texas Studies, and the Midsouth Political Science Review.


The authors would like to thank the blind reviewers and the editor for their generous and thorough review of this manuscript.