Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Joseph, Rigaud


Homelessness is a multilayered problem that affects hundreds of thousands of people across the United States. The social work profession cannot rest on its laurels when large numbers of individuals and families suffer due to a lack of shelter, a necessity. Historically, social work was at the vanguard of interventions against homelessness. However, over the past 30 years or so, the profession arguably has shifted its focus toward micro practice. As a result, macro issues such as poverty and homelessness have received comparatively less interest in the field. Using an exploratory design, this study examined factors associated with level of confidence working with the homeless population among 80 graduate social work students in a Southern California University. Mann-Whitney U Test results revealed that gender and undergraduate social work degree (BSW) correlate with participants’ confidence level toward working with people who are homeless. Male students had higher confidence level than their female counterparts, and BSW students reported higher confidence level than their non-BSW counterparts. Meanwhile, descriptive statistics revealed that less than 2% of the participants reported some interest in working with people who experience homeless population. Implications of the findings for theory, research, and social work are provided.