Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Joseph, Rigaud


Homelessness continues to be a major social issue, as thousands of individuals and families in the United States continue to be unsheltered. This problem is more acute in the State of California. Despite the implementation of poverty-relief programs, this issue has shown no signs of slowing down. The existing literature contains multiple studies conducted on factors associated with homelessness. However, the Coachella Valley, an area located in Southern California, has received little attention from the literature on homelessness. This study sought to understand the phenomenon of homelessness in the Coachella Valley, mainly its causes and means of prevention. Taking a qualitative approach, this study conducted semi-structured interviews with 17 adults who are experiencing homelessness in the Coachella Valley (N =17). Findings from thematic analysis revealed four major themes: (1) homelessness in the Coachella Valley manifests in a pluralistic form (i.e., people experience homelessness differently); (2) homelessness in the Coachella Valley has various contributing factors; (3) people in the Coachella Valley use different strategies to cope with homelessness; and (4) people in homelessness in the Coachella Valley received only a narrow range of relief programs. The findings of this study have implications for homelessness stakeholders, including social work students, practitioners, educators, community advocates, political leaders, and nonprofit organizations.

Keywords: homelessness, Coachella Valley, qualitative methodology

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Social Work Commons