Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Sarah Jane Brubaker

Second Advisor

Dr. William C. Bosher, Jr

Third Advisor

Dr. Derick Rivers

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Simon Okoth

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Nancy Stutts

Sixth Advisor

Dr. Richard Huff


As the debate intensifies regarding developing remedies to meet the needs of America’s homeless, one solution is for governmental agencies to collaborate with and employ organizations from the nonprofit sector to assist with the needs of the homeless population. Included in the nonprofit sector, faith-based organizations (FBOs) have historically been a source of debate and contention in terms of collaborations with the government. However, Presidents Reagan, George H. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama have embraced the idea of including FBOs in the pool of service providers offering human services. In the Richmond, Virginia region, FBOs and nonreligious nonprofit organizations provide a range of

human services to a substantial population of homeless clients. Yet, whether the homeless population prefers services offered by FBOs versus nonreligious nonprofits in general and for specific categories of service is unknown. These specific categories of service include alcohol treatment and recovery, counseling, drug treatment and recovery, food pantries, health care, job training and placement, short-term and long-term shelter, and meal sites. In addition, this study seeks to identify models using variables from this study that predict the preference for each category of service. Since homeless clients overall and specific human service preferences are an unknown, the importance of this study is to inform policymakers, those in the nonprofit sector, researchers, and other interested parties of these preferences. A study of this nature is also important to compare policy implementation to the preferences of the homeless to ensure the implementation accounts for principles of social equity. In addition, a study of this nature seeks to fill a literature gap by examining and understanding the intersections of demographic characteristics and preferences. Using the cohort and the rational choice theories, this study examines the preferences of homeless individuals for particular types of service providers.


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