Understanding the Barriers and Enablers to Escaping Homelessness Throughout the Pathway to Rough Sleeping

Holding, Sophie and Hodge, Suzanne and Weatherhead, Stephen (2022) Understanding the Barriers and Enablers to Escaping Homelessness Throughout the Pathway to Rough Sleeping. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis explores the narratives of people who have experienced repeated or sustained episodes of rough sleeping and the barriers and comprises of a systematic literature review, a research paper and a critical appraisal. The literature review uses a meta-ethnographic approach to understand the experiences and enactments of agency, choice and control for people experiencing homelessness. The review applies a theoretical framework of agency, choice and control as a lens through which to synthesise and interpret peoples’ experiences of homelessness. Participants in the studies responded to overwhelming structural and systemic forces through choices and actions that reclaimed a sense of agency and prioritized physical and psychological safety. Constraints in making choices directed at the future were identified alongside factors that shifted agency to be directed towards the future. The research paper uses a narrative approach for the collection and analysis of the accounts of six people who have experienced sustained or repeated episodes of rough sleeping. The findings are presented over four chapters and an afterword in which a narrative was constructed of participants being broken down by homelessness and by drugs and the subsequent rebuilding of their lives. The barriers to escaping homelessness throughout their pathway to rough sleeping, including the absence of help, hostile environments and institutional failure are identified. Facilitators which enabled people to escape from the streets primarily emerged through relationships with support workers who were persistently present and believed in them. Findings of the research are considered within wide socio-political contexts and implications for clinical practice are considered. Finally, the critical appraisal elaborates on reflexivity utilizing extracts from the researcher’s reflective log to highlight points where the researcher’s position in relation to the research topics impacted on the research. This section concludes with further considerations of implications for clinical practice.

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Thesis (PhD)
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07 Nov 2022 10:20
Last Modified:
13 May 2024 00:33