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Homelessness is a global and national occurring pandemic. Individuals experiencing homelessness tend to lack education; health resources; stress management; social, independent, vocational, and leisure skills. These causes of homelessness create adverse impacts on occupations leading to situations described as occupational injustice and barriers to occupational engagement. Due to these adverse impacts on occupations, homelessness is of concern to the occupational therapy profession. It is necessary to identify in what behaviors occupational therapy practitioners are engaging with this population to increase occupational performance and decrease occupational injustice.

The theoretical framework of the Model of Human Occupation and the Occupational Therapy Practice and Framework: Doman and Process 4th edition were used to outline this role of occupational therapy with the homeless population in a scoping review, as the literature has not been systematically organized to create a clearly defined role.

The results of this scoping review yielded 24 articles that met the inclusion criteria. The results of these articles were analyzed as six roles of occupational therapy with the homeless population: to screen, evaluate, assess, intervene, consult, and advocate.

As an implication for practice, the defined role of occupational therapy with the homeless population is to assess barriers, implement interventions that enhance the skills needed to independently engage in occupations, and advocate for inclusive services that involve the non-sanctioned occupations that are specific to this population.

Publication Date



University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

Medical Subject Headings

Homeless Persons, Occupational Therapy, Referral and Consultation, Social Support, Health Resources, Review


Counseling | Counseling Psychology | Occupational Therapy | Social Policy | Social Work


Poster presented at the Spring 2021 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences on April 15, 2021.

The Role of Occupational Therapy with the Homeless Population: A Scoping Review