Participant Perspectives on Housing and Landlords in a Canadian Housing First Program

by Timothy MacLeod

Institution: Wilfrid Laurier University
Year: 2017
Keywords: Housing First; landlords; homelessness; housing; mental health; Community Psychology; Psychology
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2191549
Full text PDF: http://scholars.wlu.ca/etd/1880


Housing First (HF) is an evidence-based approach to housing and services for adults who are chronically homeless and have a psychiatric disability. Research has demonstrated that HF rapidly ends homelessness but less in known about how participants experience their housing environments and landlords. This study is a part of a larger Canadian randomized field trial of HF that included qualitative interviews with participants in five cities. The narratives of 127 participants randomized to HF (n=82) or Treatment as Usual (TAU, n=45) were collected with regard to their perceptions of housing and landlords. Participant narratives were analyzed using thematic analysis and quantitative comparison of qualitative results. Analysis revealed that HF participants were four times more likely to describe feeling safe in their housing than TAU participants. Additionally, participants across treatment groups described being unsure of their tenancy rights and responsibilities and described experiences of surveillance. Descriptions of surveillance differed qualitatively between groups with HF participants describing personal surveillance and TAU participants describing impersonal surveillance. It was observed that women and Aboriginal participants had unique challenges related to safety and surveillance in HF programs. Implications for the implementation of HF programs are discussed.