Food Insecurity and Homelessness in the Journeys Home Survey

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 15/16

Date: 2016


Nicolas Herault
David C. Ribar


Homelessness not only deprives people of comfort, safety, and dignity but may also cause other problems, including food insecurity. In this study, we use data from the Journeys Home survey, a large national longitudinal survey of disadvantaged Australians who were homeless or at risk of homelessness, to estimate multivariate ordered categorical variable models of the association between homelessness and food insecurity. The Journeys Home survey includes an extensive set of measures of people’s circumstances that we include in our models. We also estimate dummy endogenous variable specifications. All our specifications indicate that homelessness is associated with higher (worse) food insecurity for men. We also find unconditional associations in the same direction for women, but these become statistically insignificant when we include extensive sets of observed controls in our models or estimate dummy endogenous variable specifications. We also investigate how homelessness is related to food consumption, meal consumption, and food expenditures. Food expenditures are negatively associated with homelessness for men in all our specifications; however, the other food outcomes for men and women do not show consistent, statistically significant associations.

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  • Food insecurity, food consumption, food expenditures, homelessness, Journeys Home survey