240779 Enriching community plans to end homelessness: The role of collaborative research

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 2:30 PM

Jessica Hull, BSW , Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
Kelly Mills-Dick, PhD , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
According to recent estimates, over 744,000 people experience homelessness on any given night. Such alarming figures have led to the call for development of 10-year community plans to end homelessness. In a rural, upstate New York community, a student-faculty research team collaborated with the local homeless alliance to conduct a mixed-method, exploratory study to inform the development of the community plan to end homelessness. The research team conducted a survey of 23 local homeless assistance programs to assess provider perceptions of client needs for nearly 60 distinct services. Participants were also asked to answer a series of open-ended questions regarding their perspectives about services and strategies for preventing and ending homelessness. Providers identified all but one of the services as having some level of need, and qualitative comments highlighted the high level of need for housing and case management. Primary barriers noted by participants included limited housing options and transportation. In addition to sharing study findings, the role of both student-faculty and college-community collaboration will be discussed. Partnership and collaboration played an essential role in the research project and its utility for the 10-year community plan to end homelessness. The student-faculty team will reflect on benefits and challenges of collaboration, and suggest considerations for designing collaborative research projects. This presentation will emphasize the role of collaborative partnerships and their potential for expanding knowledge and enhancing community well-being.

Learning Areas:
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss provider perspectives on service needs for homeless individuals and families 2. Identify strategies for utilizing community-based research in the development of 10-year plans to end homelessness 3. Describe benefits and challenges of student-faculty collaborative research

Keywords: Homelessness, Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was responsible for the oversight of the research project on which the paper is based and I specialize in research on homelessness.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.