Although homelessness in urban areas has been analyzed extensively, there is little research and data on homelessness in rural areas, specifically in Appalachia. The goal of this research is to shed some light on rural homeless experiences by comparing them to their urban counterparts. Four people from organizations that work with persons experiencing homelessness were interviewed using a snowball sample and asked questions which compare the causes, services, and solutions for homelessness in rural and urban areas. Based on these interviews, it can be concluded that the issues people experiencing homelessness go through, such as mental health problems and stigma, are similar throughout rural and urban locations, but the causes, services, and solutions for homelessness in Appalachia are distinct to the region and vary from those in urban areas. Some key differences include the visibility of persons experiencing homelessness, the impact of poverty and the opioid epidemic, and the types of barriers on rural and urban care centers. Acknowledging what makes homelessness in Appalachia unique can guide programs and services in their pursuits of preventing and ending homelessness.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 11-30-2020


Dr. James N. Maples

Mentor Department Affiliation


Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level




IRB Approval Number (if applicable)