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Validation of Self-Reported Veteran Status among Two Sheltered Homeless Populations
Public Health Reports (2014)
  • Stephen Metraux, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
  • Magdi Stino
  • Dennis P Culhane

Objectives. We assessed the accuracy of self-reported veteran status among sheltered homeless adults to assess the reliability of using self-report to determine the number of veterans in homeless populations and examine whether there are demographic correlates to inaccurate reporting of veteran status.

Methods. Records on 5,860 sheltered adults from Columbus, Ohio, and 16,346 sheltered adults from New York City (NYC) were matched with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) records. We analyzed the agreement between veteran self-reporting and official records using descriptive measures, diagnostic tests, and logistic regression.

Results. The degree of concordance was moderate. Using VA records rather than self-report data to determine veteran status increased homeless veteran prevalence rates by 27% in Columbus and 39% in NYC. Veterans with discordant veteran status (i.e., false positive or false negative) showed lower levels of services use in the VA (both cities) and in the municipal shelter system (NYC only). Younger veterans and women were at higher risk of not being identified as veterans.

Conclusion. Administrative records can help to more accurately identify homeless veterans and to connect them to available services and benefits.
  • homelessness,
  • veterans
Publication Date
January, 2014
Citation Information
Stephen Metraux, Magdi Stino and Dennis P Culhane. "Validation of Self-Reported Veteran Status among Two Sheltered Homeless Populations" Public Health Reports Vol. 129 (2014) p. 73 - 77
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