Creative Commons License

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

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Supervision


Michele Kielty

Robin Anderson

Joe Leblanc


The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted youth experiencing homelessness (YEH). During the coronavirus outbreak, millions of people’s health worldwide was negatively affected. In addition to poor physical health, society’s mental health was affected by political discourse, viral mitigation factors, social distancing, and distrust of both the media and government. Decades of research with those experiencing homelessness suggest that the housing insecure suffer from a litany of poor outcomes. Their physical and mental health are negatively affected by traumas and illnesses suffered prior to, and during, their transience. This study takes a phenomenological approach to examining how the COVID-19 pandemic affected YEH. Participants were screened to fit the study criteria and then they engaged in semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis coding was used to analyze and identify themes and subthemes that developed from the interviews. Ten themes and eighteen subthemes emerged from these interviews. These themes and their respective sub themes are: Isolation (forced isolation and self isolation), Family Strife (Became homeless during COVID-19 pandemic and experienced homelessness prior to COVID-19 pandemic), Education (self educational apathy and perceived educator apathy), Loss (lost opportunities and loss of resources), mental health (suicidal ideation), catching COVID-19 (worried about contracting coronavirus and not worried about catching coronavirus), systemic failures (legal system, university, government), friendships (fading friendships and strengthened bonds), resiliency, financial insecurity (inability to obtain or sustain employment and no access to money).



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