246806 Planning a multi-site homelessness research demonstration for people with mental illness: The relationships between national and local teams in Canada's At Home/Chez Soi project

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 12:46 PM

Geoff Nelson, PhD , Department of Psychology, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON, Canada
Canada's At Home/Chez Soi Housing First research demonstration project provides an opportunity to study the dynamics of the relationships between national and local teams, because the parameters of the project were set by a national team, while local site teams planned how the research and services would be implemented in five Canadian cities. In this paper, we examine the contextual influences and the dynamics between the national team and local teams in planning local programs. This research employed a multiple case study approach that involved individual and focus group interviews with key people involved. Using common qualitative interview protocols, 122 participants were interviewed at the five sites. Grounded theory analysis of the data found that across sites, there were tensions between a collaborative approach and the need to “get things done,” between a common approach and local approaches, and between different worldviews (e.g., service vs. research, mental health consumer vs. researchers and professionals). What helped the process was the evolution of a shared commitment to the values of the Housing First approach, getting the “right” people/partners involved, providing an opportunity for local innovation in addition to the common approach, and making a conceptual distinction between the “form” and “function” of local programs. The findings lend support to the notion that contextual influences that are political and historical impinge significantly on the planning process, and that health services researchers would be well advised to understand national-local dynamics in planning in the context of this “bigger picture.”

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice

Learning Objectives:
Compare the planning processes for a multi-site trial in 5 cities with your own experiences Design participatory research processes that are relevant for an intervention trial

Keywords: Homelessness, Mental Health Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am member of national research team that completed qualitative analyses
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.