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Abstract

This study describes and explains the interest of homeless persons in housing, economic, and health-related services with intake interview data collected by a large urban shelter for single adults. Shelter guests were most interested in assistance with housing, job, and economic benefits, rather than health services. Three explanations of variation in service interests are identified: the "absolute needs" explanation expects service interests to vary directly with service needs, the "repressed needs" explanation expects service interests to vary inversely with alcoholism and mental illness, while the "relative needs" explanation expects interest in health-related services to be related to health needs, but only after basic needs are satisfied. The "absolute needs" explanation receives the strongest support.

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