Walter

Examining an Applied Model to Build Social Identification and Autonomy Within a Homeless Service

Walter, Z. C. (University of Queensland), Parsell, C. (University of Queensland)

Homeless accommodation services provide essential and primary frontline responses to homelessness. Previous research has found that identification with services providing support to people experiencing homelessness can have beneficial social and well-being consequences. However, people who are homeless face substantial physical and psychological barriers that may inhibit their identification and engagement with support services. Further, the experience of using homeless accommodation service itself can be disempowering. To address this, a temporary homeless accommodation service implemented a new service delivery model that was designed to change disempowering service practices, and treat people using the service in a way that builds autonomy and well-being. The current research aimed to evaluate this model. We collected longitudinal data from 150 residents of the accommodation within 2 days of entering the service (Time 1), two-weeks after leaving the service (Time 2), and three months after Time 1 (Time 3). The analyses examined the associations between social identification with the service, change in perceptions of autonomy, and self-reported health, well-being, and housing outcomes. We discuss the results’ implications for social policy, and for the applications of the social identity approach to health within vulnerable populations.

z.walter@uq.edu.au

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