Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Hidden Work of Exiting Homelessness: Challenges of Housing Service Use and Strategies of Service Recipients

This study explored the experiences of parents attempting to re-attain housing after a shelter stay. 

Eighty parents participated in semistructured face-to-face interviews approximately six months after being recruited from shelters in four states across the U.S. Qualitative analyses identified common challenges of service use, strategies of service recipients, and characteristics of positive and negative service experiences.

Challenges of service use included "catch-22s" resulting from incongruity between service policies/procedures and participants' contexts and/or requirements of other services, confusion and uncertainty resulting from absent or insufficient communication about services, and long waitlists. 

Participants demonstrated persistence and determination, networked with service providers, and activated formal resources. Positive service experiences were tailored to families' needs and marked by clear and consistent communication between providers and with service recipients. 

Findings suggest effective health communication tactics should be applied to housing services. Providers should collaborate to ensure service attainment does not impede other pathways to stability.

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By:  Mayberry LS1.
  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine & Public Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nashville, TN. 
  •  2016 Apr 1;44(3):293-310. Epub 2016 Mar 9.

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