Sociology ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-15-2022


This dissertation includes three empirical chapters framed by an overarching introduction and conclusion. Together, they comprise a mixed methods and community engaged study on homelessness, mortality, and systems related to homelessness. This study uniquely speaks to the social construction of homelessness and construction of knowledge about homelessness from a sociological perspective. Data come from: 1) qualitative interviews (N=20) with field deputy medical investigators (FDMI) in New Mexico about conceptualizing homelessness and housing instability as a contributing cause of death; 2) quantitative death records comparing people affected by homelessness who were identified as having been engaged with services or were not previously engaged with services; and 3) narrative investigative reports about scenes of death that involved a person affected by homelessness written by FDMI. Results suggest challenges and solutions to knowledge and services provided to prevent and end homelessness. This includes difficulties with conceptualization, inequities in services access or engagement, and variation in social and system supports among people affected by homelessness influenced by place and social forces—in addition to ways to better understand and provide support to hidden populations.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Jessica Goodkind

Second Committee Member

Kristin Barker

Third Committee Member

Noah Painter-Davis

Fourth Committee Member

Annette Crisanti


homelessness, mortality, conceptualization, mixed methods, community engaged research, social inequities



Document Type


Available for download on Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Included in

Sociology Commons