Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Type

Professional Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Service

Department

College of Professional Studies

Abstract

Homelessness is a phenomenon that has been studied for decades. The homeless have been counted, analyzed, recounted, identified, grouped, and categorized. Their profiles and trends have been stored in massive database systems such as the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). A wealth of literature exists exploring who the homeless are and why they are homeless. What seems to be lacking in the homelessness literature is a thorough analysis of issues and solutions from the perspectives of the individuals who know homelessness the best—those who have experienced it. Structural issues such as housing and poverty are crucial components of any solution, and they are explored ad nauseam in the literature. While researchers contend that dignity, selfesteem and identity may be just as important to satisfy as basic needs in order to end homelessness, these themes still have not been fully explored. The purpose of this study was to create a forum for participants to raise issues about homelessness and advise possible solutions. Issues and solutions were then organized through the lenses of dignity, identity and self-esteem, since all participants discussed these themes in detail.

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