Researchers usually define a homeless family as those parents accompanied by minor children. This study compares a sample of homeless mothers accompanied by their children to homeless mothers who report that their children are elsewhere. While there are some differences between these two groups such as age and number of children, there are also a number of similarities. Both groups of mothers report that they rely on family members and friends as sources of instrumental support. These networks are especially useful for housing children. The findings from this investigation suggest a need for a more inclusive definition of homeless families so that services can be geared towards all families affected by a loss of stable housing.

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