Peer Reviewed





Context: Homeless individuals have comparatively poorer health, however few gender specific assessments exist.

Purpose: This cross-sectional survey of homeless individuals assesses gender-specific health needs.

Procedure: 68 Homeless adults were surveyed at a shelter from March to April, 2015 in Iowa City, IA. Descriptive statistics were computed to compare gender-subgroup responses.

Main Findings: The study population was predominately male (45, 67.2%), white (37, 54.4%), and averaged 42.35 years old (range 21-74). Males were more likely to be veterans (13, 28.9% vs. 1, 4.5%, p=0.025). Women were more likely to have dependents (9, 47.4% vs. 1, 4%, p=0.001) and access to dental coverage (16, 80% vs. 12, 30.8%, p=0.001). Similar rates of chronic disease, primary care access, and unmet health needs were noted.

Conclusions: Homeless women and men have unique needs and would benefit from gender-specific health interventions. Resources for child-care may be important for women who are homeless, while dental health care may be particularly beneficial for men.


Homeless health, underserved medicine, health inequalities, women’s health, men’s health, unmet health needs

Total Pages

11 pages

Financial Disclosure

The authors report no conflict of interest. This research was supported by the John and Eloise Mountain-Wright Mini-Grant for Service to the Community.


Copyright © 2020 the authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.