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Special Issue of Refereed Journal, Books

Abouchi, E. & Pallard, H. (2011). Démocratie, élections et culture : de la théorie à la pratique. Série: Colloques et Séminaires, No 30. Marrakech, Maroc: Faculté des sciences juridiques, Université Cadi Ayyad.

FitzMaurice, K., Newhouse, D. & McGuire-Adams, T. (2012). Well Being in the Urban Aboriginal Community: Fostering Biimaadziwin. A National Research Conference on Urban Aboriginal People. Toronto, ON: Thompson Educational Publishing Inc.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H. & Faries, E. (2015). Guest editors, Place, Space, Poverty and Homelessness in Northeastern Ontario, Canada. OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development. Special Issue, 8 (4). Social Sciences Research Network

Selected chapters in Academic Books:

Forchuk, C., Jensen, E., Csiernik, R., Ward-Griffin, C., Ray, S., Montgomery, P., & Wan, L. (2011). Exploring differences between community-based women and men with a history of mental illness. In C. Forchuk, R. Csiernik & E. Jensen (Eds.). Homelessness, Housing and the Experiences of Mental Health Consumer-Survivors: Finding truths – Creating Change (Chapter 16). Toronto, Canada: Canadian Scholars Press.

Fitzmaurice, K. (2011). Apologies, Truth, and Reconciliation: Indigenous Knowledge and the Decolonization of Aboriginal-non-Aboriginal relations in Canada. White-Indian Relations: Moving Into the 21rst Century. Glienicke, Germany: Galda Verlag Press.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H., & Neegan, W. (2012). Into and Out of Homelessness: Understanding Societal Constraints and Systemic Disadvantages through an Individual Case Study. Proceedings of The 3rd International Conference on Society and Information Technologies: ICSIT 2012, March 25th – 28th, 2012, Orlando, Florida, USA.

Montgomery, P. Forchuk, C, Csiernik, R., & Gorlick, C. (2012). Rural Women’s Strategies for Seeking Mental Health and Housing Services. In B. Leipert, B. Leach, & W. Thustson (Eds.). Rural Women’s Health in Canada (Chapter 13). Toronto, ON: University of Toronto.

Bailey, P., Montgomery, P., & Mossey, S. (2013). Narrative Inquiry. In C. Beck (Ed.). Routledge International Handbook of Qualitative Nursing Research (Chapter 21). Routledge Publishers.

Fitzmaurice, K. 2014. Transforming Racism and the construction of Zhaganash-Whiteness in Critical Race Theory and Indigenous Knowledge. 40th Algonquin Conference Proceedings, University of Minnesota Press.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H., Montgomery, P., Etches, V. & Renaud, D. (2015). Photovoice Methodology and Health Research: Living on the Outside. In Shveta Dhaliwal et al. (eds.), Deliberations on Research Methodology: An Interdisciplinary Approach. New Delhi, India: Mohan Law House.

Pallard, H. & Kauppi, C. (2015). Developing and Refining Strategies for Research Collaborations between Universities and Communities. In Shveta Dhaliwal et al. (eds.), Deliberations on Research Methodology: An Interdisciplinary Approach. New Delhi, India: Mohan Law House

Montgomery, P., Mossey, S., Kauppi, C., Shaikh, A. & Pallard, H. (2015). Using Q Methodology to Facilitate Relational Connectedness within a CURA. In Shveta Dhaliwal et al. (eds.), Deliberations on Research Methodology: An Interdisciplinary Approach. New Delhi, India: Mohan Law House.

Shaikh, A., Rawal, H., Kauppi, C. & Pallard, H. (2015). Methodological Challenges in Health Research among Vulnerable Populations of Northern Canada. In Shveta Dhaliwal et al. (eds.), Deliberations on Research Methodology: An Interdisciplinary Approach. New Delhi, India: Mohan Law House.

Rawal, H., Kauppi, C., Shaikh, A. & Souliere, E. (2015). Digital Storytelling: A Research Methodology to Empower Oppressed and Marginalized Individuals. In Shveta Dhaliwal et al. (eds.), Deliberations on Research Methodology: An Interdisciplinary Approach. New Delhi, India: Mohan Law House.

Pallard, H. & Kauppi, C. (Forthcoming). Les personnes sans-abri, les fouilles et les perquisitions abusives, et les détentions arbitraires dans le contexte canadien. In Mélanges offerts à Jean-Marie Breton. France: Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H., Montgomery, P., Glass, L. & Stacey, M. (Accepted 9 March 2016). Needs Assessment for an Inter-Professional Clinic to Serve Poor and Homeless People in Sudbury. Diversity in Research, E-book, Faculty of Health and Faculty of Education, Laurentian University.

Selected Articles (in refereed journals):

Shaikh, A. & Kauppi, C. (2010). Deconstructing Resilience: Myriad Conceptualizations and Interpretations. International Journal of Arts and Sciences, 3(15) 155 – 176.

Montgomery, P., Lefebvre, S., Michel, I., Warren, C., Larose, T. & Kauppi, C. (2012). The Role of Public Health Inspectors in Maintaining Housing in Northern and Rural Communities: Recommendations to Support Public Health Practice. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 103 (2) 84-89.

Rebeiro Gruhl, K., Kauppi, C., Montgomery, P. & James, S. (2012). Painting Everybody with the Same Brush: Employment Discrimination of Persons with Serious Mental Illness in Rural Places. Journal of Rural Mental Health, 36 (1) 11-17.

Rebeiro Gruhl KL, Kauppi C., Montgomery P., James S. (2012). Consideration of the Influence of Place on Access to Employment for Persons with Serious Mental Illness in Northeastern Ontario. Rural and Remote Health. 2012, 12(3), 2034 (online).

Rebeiro Gruhl KL, Kauppi C, Montgomery P, James S. (2012). Employment Services for Persons with Serious Mental Illness in Northeastern Ontario: the case for partnerships. WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 43 (1) 77-89.

Rebeiro Gruhl K.L., Kauppi C, Montgomery P, James S. (2012) “Stuck in the mud”: Limited Employment Success of Persons with Serious Mental Illness in Northeastern Ontario. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 31 (2), 67-81.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H., Matukala Nkosi, T., & Lemieux, S. (2012). Niveaux et raisons du sans-abrisme chez les Francophones dans le nord de l’Ontario. Reflets : revue d’intervention sociale et communautaire, 18 (1) 91-118.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H. & Shaikh, A. (2013). Migration and Homelessness: Exploring Attachment to Place amongst Francophone, Anglophone and Indigenous People in Northeastern Ontario. Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies. 3 (1) 97-108.

Shaikh, A., Kauppi, C. & Pallard, H. (2013). Development of Supportive Housing for Seniors in Iroquois Falls, Canada. International Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 6 (3) 10-21.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H., Stephen, G. and Neegan W. (2013). Societal Constraints, Systemic Disadvantages and Homelessness: An Individual Case Study. Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, Vol.11 (7) 42-49.

Hein, J. & Kauppi, C. (2014). Living on the Outside: A Photo Exhibit Using Art in the Struggle for Social Justice. The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts. 8 (3-4) 31-41.

Shaikh, A. & Kauppi, C. (2014). Postpartum Depression: Deconstructing the Label Through a Social Constructionist Lens. Social Work in Mental Health. 13 (5), 459-480.

McCauley, K., Montgomery, P., Mossey, S. & Bailey, P. (2015). Canadian Community Mental Health Workers’ Perceived Priorities for Supportive Housing Services in Northern and Rural Contexts. Health and Social Care in the Community. Volume 23 (6) 632–641.

Montgomery, P. Jermyn, D., Mossey, S., Bailey, P., Nangia, P., Egan, M., & Verrilli, S. (2015). Community Reintegration of Stroke Survivors in Northeastern Ontario: The Role of a Navigation Intervention. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 71(1), 214-225.

McLeod, A., Hein, J. & Kauppi, C. (2015). Reaffirming Culture through a Community-Based Housing Design Process. The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts. 9 (2), 1-12.

Pallard, H., Kauppi, C. & Hein, J. (2015). Photovoice and Homelessness in Subarctic and Urban Communities. The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts. 10 (1) 25-41.

Kauppi, C., Forchuk, C., Montgomery, P., Edwards, B., Davie, S. & Rudnick, A. (2015). Migration, Homelessness and Health among Psychiatric Survivors in Northern and Southern Ontario. International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies: Annual Review, Volume 9 1-14.

Sullivan, M., Seyler, K., Lemieux, S., Kauppi, C. & Pallard, H. (2015). Sans-abrisme et itinérance à Sudbury : l’expérience des fournisseurs de services. Acfas-Sudbury, Actes des 17e et 18e Journées Sciences et Savoirs, pp.243-258.

Kauppi, C. & Pallard, H. (2015). Poverty, homelessness and migration in Northeastern Ontario, Canada. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies. 8 (Special Issue, 2015), 11-22.

Rudnick, R., Montgomery, P., Coatsworth-Puspoky, R., Cohen, B., Forchuk, C., Lahey, P., Perry, S., & Schofield, R. (2014). Perspectives of Social Justice among People Living with Mental Illness and Poverty: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Poverty and Social Justice. 22 (2) 147-157.

Fitzmaurice, K. 2015. The State of Urban Aboriginal Communities. Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network (UAKN) Research Paper Series.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H. & Ellery, V. (Accepted 7 March 2016). Interactions des personnes sans-abri avec les services de police : sĂ©vĂ©ritĂ© et impacts. Reflets : revue d’intervention sociale et communautaire, 23, numĂ©ro 1, printemps 2016.

Hall, P. V., Montgomery, P. et al. (In press). Seeking and Securing Work: Individual Predictor of Employment Outcomes of Psychiatric Survivors. Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation, 14, 1-12.

Selected Reports

Garceau, M.L. & Kauppi, C. (2010). SantĂ©, pauvretĂ©, migration et personnes sans-abri : rĂ©ponses communautaires au phĂ©nomène des personnes sans-abri dans les communautĂ©s du nord de l’Ontario. Rapport final du projet au Consortium national de formation en santĂ©. 15 juillet 2010.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H., Lemieux, S. & T. Matukala Nkosi. (2012). Homelessness in Timmins 2011: Final Report. Sudbury, Ontario: Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy, Laurentian University.

Shaikh, A., Kauppi, C. & Pallard, H. (2013). A Supportive Housing Complex for Older Adults in Iroquois Falls: Review of Processes and Effects. Report prepared for the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ontario. Sudbury, Ontario: Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy, Laurentian University.

Pallard, H., Kauppi, C., Poliquin, L., Corbeil, L, H., Gervais, R., Lemieux, S. & Matukala Nkosi, T. (2013). La Pauvreté et Le Sans-abrisme à Hearst. Pauvreté, sans-abrisme et migration. 17 avril 2013.

Shaikh, A., Kauppi, C., Pallard, H. & Gervais, R. (2013). Literature review—homelessness among families. Understanding and Addressing Homelessness in a Northern Community—Timmins, Ontario. Report prepared for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, Employment and Social Development Canada: Sudbury, Ontario: Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy, Laurentian University.

Kauppi, C., Shaikh, A., Pallard, H. & Rawal, H. (2013). A Comparative Study with Three Northern Ontario Communities. Understanding and Addressing Homelessness in a Northern Community—Timmins, Ontario. Report prepared for Homelessness Partnering Strategy, Employment and Social Development Canada. Sudbury, Ontario: Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy, Laurentian University.

Shaikh, A., Kauppi, C., Pallard, H. & Faries, E. (2013). Survey of Service Providers. Understanding and Addressing Homelessness in a Northern Community—Timmins, Ontario. Report prepared for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, Employment and Social Development Canada. Sudbury, Ontario: Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy, Laurentian University.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H., Shaikh, A. & Faries, E. (2013). Perceptions of Homeless Parents and Service Providers on Family Homelessness. Understanding and Addressing Homelessness in a Northern Community—Timmins, Ontario. Report prepared for Homelessness Partnering Strategy, Employment and Social Development Canada: Sudbury, Ontario. Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy, Laurentian University.

Sudbury & District Health Unit. (2013). Evaluation of Health Equity Processes and Structures at the SDHU: Report. Sudbury, ON: Author. (S. Lemieux, R. St Onge and L. Dupuis).

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H., Shaikh, A. & Faries, E. (2014). Final Report. Summary. Summary Report on Understanding and Addressing Homelessness in a Northern Community–Timmins, Ontario. For the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, Employment and Social Development Canada. Sudbury, Ontario: Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy, Laurentian University.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H., Shaikh, A., Faries, E., MacLean, B., Virchez, J., Garceau, M. & Lemieux, S. (2014). Understanding and Addressing Family Homelessness in a Northern Community – Timmins, Ontario. Employment and Social Development Canada.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H. & Faries, E. (2015). Homelessness in Greater Sudbury: 2015 Period Prevalence Count. 9 March 2015. Poverty, Homelessness and Migration. Sudbury, Ontario: Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy, Laurentian University.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H. & Faries, E. (2015). Homelessness in Cochrane. Poverty, Homelessness and Migration. 20 April 2015.Poverty, Homelessness and Migration. Sudbury, Ontario: Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy, Laurentian University.


Kauppi, C., Neegan, W., Lemieux, S., Faries, E. & Pallard, H. (2012). Highway to the North: Cree Narratives of Homelessness. Documentary Films. Poverty, Homelessness and Migration, Laurentian University. Film presentation, Rainbow Cinemas, Sudbury, Ontario, December 5, 2012.

Neegan, W., Kauppi, C.. Faries, E. & Pallard, H. Will to Live: George Stephen On and Off the Street. Documentary video. Poverty, Homelessness and Migration. Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy, Université Laurentienne, 2012. 30 minutes.
Award: Best Short Documentary Film, Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival, 21-25 November 2012.
Screening: Homelessness in Sudbury: Video, Images and Music, Centre d’éthique Université de Sudbury Ethics Centre, Sudbury, Ontario, 15 janvier 2013.
Invitation for submission to Native Eyes Film Showcase, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington et New York, É.-U.

Conference Presentations:

Poverty and Social Inclusion 3rd Annual Forum, University of Western Ontario, October 23, 2013.
Poverty, Homelessness and Migration Third Conference, Laurentian University, November 22, 2014.

Other presentations:

20 additional presentations to community agencies or groups in Sudbury, 2012-2014.

Facilitators Guide:

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H., Faries, E. (2014). The Will to Live Facilitators Guide. Sudbury, Ontario: Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy.

Photography Exhibitions

Living on the Outside: A photo exhibit exploring the realities of home. (2011). A project of Poverty, Homelessness and Migration. Exhibition at Artists on Elgin, Sudbury, May 5-May 14, 2011.

Kauppi, C. & Hein, J. (2011). Living on the Outside: A photo exhibit exploring the realities of home. Exhibition Catalogue. Laurentian University. ISBN 978-0-88667-080-1

Kauppi, C. & Mitchell, C. (2012). Homelessness in Sudbury: A Photovoice Exhibit. Mayworks Sudbury Celebrating Working People and the Arts, Juried Exhibition. May 3rd – 4th 2012. Sudbury, ON.

Kauppi, C., Neegan, W., Lemieux, S., Faries, E. & Pallard, H. (2013). Homelessness in Sudbury: Video, Images and Music. Poverty, Homelessness and Migration, Laurentian University with University of Sudbury Ethics Centre. Film screening, Photovoice exhibit and Panel Discussion. Canisius Hall, University of Sudbury, Ontario, January 15, 2013.

Kauppi, C., Pallard, H. & Larocque, C. (2015). Living on the Outside: A Photo Exhibit Exploring the Realities of Home. Third Conference, Poverty Homelessness and Migration, Laurentian University, November 21st -23rd 2014.

Kauppi, C. Photovoice Exhibit on Housing and Homelessness. Art that Matters. Juried Art Show. Gallery 6500. Sudbury, October 18 – December 1, 2015.

Published Abstracts (2010-16) 65
Workshops and Presentations (2010-16) 102

Graduate theses/advanced practica completed (2010-16)

Dennis Windego

Treating Trauma in Aboriginal Communities: Integrating Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy with Medicine Wheel Teachings

There is a need to develop effective treatment tools in addressing the negative impacts of colonization and residential schools on Indigenous people. Treatment tools and processes must be inclusive of Aboriginal teachings and methods in healing trauma and the effects of oppression. Focusing-oriented psychotherapy and the medicine wheel teachings are congruent and combining them within a single model shows that western and traditional Aboriginal can be used together to aid in treating trauma and oppression. This advanced practicum explores psychological, emotional, mental and physical effects of trauma on Indigenous people, including those who provide counselling services; thus it includes consideration of the phenomenon termed “vicarious trauma” as it relates to Indigenous communities.

The purpose of this advanced practicum project was to develop and refine a new model, Indigenous Psychotherapy which I have developed to support Indigenous people and workers offering social services and who address varied issues with community members. Merging focusing-oriented psychotherapy and the teachings of the medicine wheel to create a new model can be effective, as both approaches reflect the values of respect and non-interference. Based on an approach identified by Daley (2010) this paper utilizes the concept of critical reflection to explore the relevance of social position with regard to uncovering and developing new understandings for addressing vicarious trauma. The project drew extensively on critical reflection as an important activity in social work practice; the advanced practicum paper includes the results of a critical analysis of reflective memos.

Critical reflection is used to explain the model for addressing trauma amongst Indigenous people. The paper outlines the significance of the four doorways as well as the animals (eagle, mouse, bear and buffalo) as symbols for each doorway. Throughout the process, the animal medicines work together in each direction—north, east, south and west—and in each aspect of human beings. The process also aligns with the six movements of focusing. It is not a linear process as there is a constant interplay between the various stages as clients move into and out of their traumatic issues or memories, and work through them. In order for the process to be complete, individuals must, in an important sense, end up exactly where they started, by not regressing to the point in their lives where the trauma originated.

The paper also provides case examples to illustrate the effectiveness of the model for addressing trauma. A key activity within the practicum project was to undertake training on aspects of vicarious trauma and to use the training in refining the model—Indigenous Psychotherapy—so that it can be used to support First Nations people and workers who experience effects of trauma, including complex trauma and vicarious trauma. A goal was to generate new knowledge that can help to develop, discover and implement solutions for social work with Indigenous people. In examining the unique experience of First Nation peoples with regard to trauma, this advanced practicum project has relevance to social work practice within other Indigenous communities in Canada—both urban and rural. The results may contribute to existing knowledge on the subject by addressing existing gaps in social work program delivery. It is important for Indigenous people, who have been affected by colonialism as well as present day systemic oppression which results in trauma, to have effective treatment tools that are compatible with their culture and teachings. The advanced practicum paper concludes by discussing the relevance of the model for enhancing the resilience and the wellbeing of Indigenous peoples and asserts the importance of addressing trauma within First Nations communities by using culturally appropriate approaches.

Lara Longo

This advanced practicum paper explores the academic and professional experience gained at a placement with Reseau Access Network (RAN), in Sudbury Ontario. RAN is a community-based organization that is committed to reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C (HCV) through a harm reduction approach that integrates a holistic and integrated model of care; the model includes outreach, case management and counselling, community education and health care. This paper outlines how, through this advanced practicum, I achieved learning goals to develop my skills in social work counselling and community education. These goals were achieved through two main projects completed in the advanced practicum: (i) a group therapy trauma and substance abuse program for women with co-morbidity, and (ii) the creation of an education and resource guide developed for the agency along with a staff training initiative centered in phase-1 trauma and substance abuse therapy and trauma-informed practice. This paper examines the many co-related factors connected to trauma and substance use among women at-risk in Canada, and also explores the theoretical frameworks that guided this practice – specifically, trauma-informed practice, harm reduction, social-ecology and resiliency theory. It also describes the advanced practicum process including the practicum environment, process, goals and project outcomes including a description of the women’s trauma and substance abuse therapy group and staff training that I facilitated.

Jamie-Lea Pollock

Fathers are becoming more involved in their children’s care and societal values on the role of fathering are changing. However this trend is not being actualized in services, such as shelter services for fathers and children, child welfare services, and other support services. Fathers often struggle to be heard, supported and valued in the process of ensuring that their children are safe and cared for. Research has shown that poverty plays a large role in the lives of families that become involved with a variety of services. Mothers may be supported in overcoming issues of poverty and—in extreme cases homelessness—through financial assistance and shelter services. Fathers, however, have added barriers in caring for their children when they experience extreme poverty, near homelessness and absolute homelessness. In this thesis, a phenomenological analysis was based on interviews with six fathers experiencing degrees of homelessness in Northern Ontario. Utilizing a phenomenological methodology, with particular attention to those who had experience of the involvement of child welfare workers and other social service providers, interviews with homeless fathers were analysed to develop an understanding of the essence of their experiences. Six themes emerged from the interviews: 1) experiences of staying at shelters; 2) transportation; 3) homelessness as a barrier to relationships with children; 4) barriers to housing; 5) experiences with service providers and; 6) experiences of Indigenous fathers. Many of the themes are interrelated, and the varied connections between the themes are elaborated.This study is important because of the scarcity of existing research on homeless fathering; in particular, it is notable that there is little information about homeless fathers’ experiences with social services, including experiences of child welfare involvement with their children. Moreover, there is a lack of phenomenological research on the topic, particularly within northern communities. Research that has been completed in this area focuses primarily on mothers’ experiences of homelessness and parenting. Understanding of the experiences of marginalized fathers, such as those experiencing homelessness, is vital to the development of appropriate services to support fathers in parenting their children and to address issues of poverty. The inclusion of Indigenous fathers and their perspectives is an important aspect of this study. The results suggest that Indigenous fathers experienced a constellation of issues and challenges that reflect the history of colonization, historical trauma and ongoing oppression. It is hoped that this research will give voice to these fathers in order to inform social work practice such that fathers who experience homelessness can be better supported and served. Culturally appropriate services for Indigenous fathers are needed in northern communities. Through increased awareness, social workers may gain knowledge about strategies to support fathers’ involvement in the care of their children.

Kathy Kiverago

Trauma, Homelessness and Post-Traumatic Growth: Experiences of Women Living in Northern Ontario

The experience of homelessness extends beyond the individual; it is also a social phenomenon. Studies on homelessness have usually taken a quantitative approach, frequently focusing on causes and negative outcomes. The goal of this thesis is to address a critical gap in the literature on resilience and posttraumatic growth among homeless women in their 50s, living in northern Ontario. The study employs a phenomenological methodology to analyze narrative interviews with homeless women through the theoretical lens of an intersectional feminist framework. While the women did not identify positive aspects of their experiences of trauma and homelessness, my research explores how individuals can experience positive outcomes and posttraumatic growth in the aftermath of the trauma that caused their homelessness. The thesis also examines how women can experience resiliency even as they live through the trauma of being homeless. Six participants from northern Ontario were interviewed several times for this study and these interviews provided a database of 27 anonymized transcripts. All participants were women over the age of 50 who had been or were at imminent risk of becoming homeless. The results of the study indicate that all participants had experienced trauma over their lifespan; forms of trauma included childhood abuse, interpersonal violence and loss of family. The results suggest that all participants had experienced unresolved shame. However, these women also identified positive outcomes, including personal strengths, connectedness and compassion with others, and a deeper appreciation for life. Understanding the essence of their lived experiences may assist the helping professions and social work practice. There is a vital need for services and programs with a focus on helping trauma survivors to grow because of, not in spite of, the trauma they have experienced. The intent of this research is to support the development of such programs. This research project focuses on bringing the voices of marginalized and oppressed women to the forefront with the goal of helping to stimulate social action and policy change. At the core of this project is the belief that marginalized people must be heard and that empowerment can stem from participation in research as well as from their active engagement within community life.

Keywords: homelessness, women, childhood abuse, interpersonal violence, trauma, shame, resilience, posttraumatic growth

Rosella Hanlon

Homelessness, Experiences of Trauma and Art-Based Methods of Healing

Experiences of trauma amongst homeless people are unique and differ from the general population. Yet there has been limited research on this issue that has involved homeless or formerly homeless people living in northern or rural communities of Ontario. Moreover, engaging in art or craftwork has been well documented as a successful form of expression and method of communication when used by traumatized individuals or those with mental health issues; yet there has been little published work examining art as a healing tool among homeless or formerly homeless persons. Thus research has not examined experiences of artistic work by homeless or formerly homeless individuals. In the current thesis, the use of a narrative approach provided an opportunity for formerly homeless people to tell their narratives of trauma and to describe art-based approaches they used to cope with traumatic experiences. Within the participants’ shared experiences of homelessness and trauma, the stories reveal the cultural and individual influences that impact on their artistic work. The personal narratives revealed in this study also demonstrate resiliency and methods of healing using various forms of art and craftwork. Increased awareness about healing methods practiced by homeless people exposed to traumatic events can assist communities to improve service delivery programs in response to personal disclosures of emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual suffering.

Rosemary Muzorewa

Overcoming Systemic Violence against Homeless Women: A Feminist-Structural Approach

Understanding homelessness among middle aged women is vital because women have become more vulnerable due to the weakening of the social safety net. There is need to examine the social arrangements that shape their experiences of homelessness. Few studies have situated women’s experiences of homelessness within a perspective that focuses on varied social structures of domination. Using a feminist-structural perspective, this qualitative study drawing upon grounded theory methods sought to discover the meanings that women in Northern Ontario attach to their experiences of homelessness and to examine their perceptions of society’s responses to those experiences. This thesis drew upon 11 verbatim transcripts from in-depth interviews with four participants. The participants were low income women aged 53 to 56 from varied socio-cultural backgrounds. Data analysis proceeded inductively, shifting from narrow, specific observations to broader concepts in order to explore women’s experiences of homelessness with a focus on social justice issues. Findings from the study revealed that violence against homeless women operates at multidimensional levels and includes personal, interpersonal and systemic forms. But most pervasive is systemic violence, which encompasses a lack of affordable housing, unemployment, a weakened safety net, an unfair justice system, discriminatory practices by service providers and limited access to healthcare and post-secondary education. The aim of this thesis is to stimulate positive social change through the formulation of viable social policies that address the issue of homelessness among low income women.

Darlene Bennett

The Relationship between Homelessness, Abuse and Trauma: Experiences of Women Living in Northern Ontario

In northern Ontario, varied factors, including geographic location and the economic situation affect the experiences and needs of homeless women. This thesis explored varied forms of abuse, violence and trauma-related effects among women. This qualitative, phenomenological study utilized a sample of five women, aged 53 to 58, all of whom had previously experienced homelessness and were at risk of becoming homeless at the time of this study. A total of 16 interviews with the five women were analyzed.The results indicated that all of the participants had experienced forms of abuse or violence that began in childhood and progressed into adulthood. Furthermore, the traumatic effects associated with their abuse resulted in adverse, long-term psychological, physiological, and emotional consequences which led to poor social conditions, including homelessness. The women spoke about the problems associated with the programs and services in this geographic area. Understanding their lived experiences may assist with determining the types of interventions required to effect positive social change for this population. This research method is relevant to social work practice because it offers marginalized people an opportunity to address their personal struggles and to engage in the process of initiating social action.

Keywords: homelessness, sexual abuse, abuse, domestic abuse, trauma

Shane Taylor, 2014

Homelessness and addiction are both social issues that society acknowledges, but often ignores or attempts to hide. The connection between these two issues is strong, and both are exacerbated by the continued growth in poverty rates. Yet little research exists on these phenomena in communities of Northern Ontario; the aim of this study is to explore the experiences of a formerly homeless man of Cree origins as he lived and survived for over twenty years on the streets, primarily in a northern city but also in other places. The purpose of this thesis is to gain insight into the nature of services for addiction issues for a Cree person living with homelessness. This narrative study re-stories the participant’s life and identifies themes that arise from coded material from six interview transcripts with the participant. The thematic analysis provides insights into the relationship between the participant’s twenty years of lived experiences of homelessness, addiction and the barriers and gaps within the community organizations that ostensibly exist to meet the needs of homeless people with addiction. The findings point to a need to understand better the culture of homelessness within a northern city; of equal necessity is the recognition that the values and expectations of mainstream society impact on policies, practices, opinions, and the general treatment of homeless people. Also revealed are the effects of colonization on the participant and the ways in which the traumas he experienced contributed to his severe addiction and homelessness. Moreover, the findings provide information about the delivery of addiction services in a northern city, the numerous barriers the participant faced as he sought, and finally obtained, recovery and permanent housing. This thesis concludes that the policies and practices within addiction organizations and the delivery of addiction services to homeless people require a more holistic and reflective approach—one that encompasses the values and expectations of homeless culture, thus facilitating the recovery of homeless persons.

Erin Vinkle

Cultural Safety: Working with Aboriginal Peoples: Advanced Practicum Project

There has been a growing concern within the field of social work regarding the importance of providing culturally safe, sensitive and appropriate services for Aboriginal populations and it is imperative to attend to the urgent need for action. However, mainstream social work practitioners may not feel fully equipped with the knowledge and skills that they require in order to provide culturally appropriate services for Indigenous peoples. In this advanced practicum project, I develop and propose a framework that may be utilized in working with this population. Drawing upon tenets of decolonizing methodologies, the framework has been specifically designed for non-Aboriginal practitioners and staff who are employed by the Canadian Mental Health Association—Sudbury/Manitoulin Branch (CMHA). The project was conducted to enhance services offered by the organization to Aboriginal people. The framework was developed and evaluated with the goal of providing non-Aboriginal social workers with a greater knowledge base to better meet the needs of Aboriginal clients and communities in this region of Northeastern Ontario. The practicum project was conducted in four steps: (1) discussions with non-Aboriginal staff at CMHA; (2) discussions with Aboriginal partners in the community; (3) development of a culturally competent framework for CMHA services involving work with Indigenous people and; (4) presentation of the framework to an Indigenous Elder to obtain feedback and revise it. The framework developed in this practicum aims to address a gap in mainstream social work with regard to acceptance of and emphasis on learning from Indigenous perspectives and worldviews. Providing culturally safe and appropriate training for mainstream non-Aboriginal social workers may help to improve relationships between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal social workers.

Marc Bedard

Homelessness and Social Policy Retrenchments: An Indigenous Perspective

Homelessness and migration are social phenomena that are poorly understood yet continuously on the rise. Within Northern Ontario, First Nations people experience homelessness both on and off their First Nation territories. This thesis examines questions regarding social and housing-related policy issues and impacts for homeless Indigenous people in Northern Ontario. The thesis uses an approach involving a single case, narrative analysis which utilized eight transcribed video interviews from a Cree man who had extensive lived experience of homelessness. The study sought to uncover the impacts of governmental social and housing policies which are touted as solutions for living circumstances related to substandard housing and homelessness. Utilizing a combination of thematic, critical incident and dialogic analysis, this thesis uncovered some of the relationships between the participant’s 20-year lived experience on the streets and the often inadequate structural and social supports including housing programs. The research results revealed that, while homelessness was not reported as the predominant thematic content within the analysis, issues relating to mental health and culture were central topics within the participant’s narrative. The research also suggests that larger historical issues including the trans-generational legacy of colonization and ongoing structural oppression are significant circumstances that may reinforce persistent homelessness for First Nations people. This thesis concludes that federal and provincial public housing-related policies intrinsically fail to properly address the holistic needs of Indigenous people.

Honarine Scott

Resilience among Aboriginal Youth: Reflections of a Mushkegowuk Cree Storyteller

Many Aboriginal youth in Canada face significant challenges to their well-being due to multiple and disproportionate levels of risk; these risks have not yet been adequately addressed. Based on published research, these risks include educational attainment, abuse, mental health issues, substance misuse, overrepresentation in child welfare, and youth justice. Some researchers have framed Aboriginal youth adversity as symptoms of the insidious effects of assimilative policies of the Canadian government. Despite these issues, some young people are able to withstand continuous adverse conditions and thrive. It is important to explore the perspectives and experiences of Aboriginal youth through the lens of resilience in an Indigenous context.

This thesis employs a qualitative participatory action research (PAR) design, which is an alternative approach to research utilizing social investigation, education and action as part of a process of co-creating social change with oppressed groups. This retrospective study explores resilience among Aboriginal youth based on the experiences and perspectives of a Mushkegowuk Cree storyteller reflecting upon his youth. The narratives were based on stories of the participant’s life collected by the Poverty, Homelessness and Migration project at Laurentian University through a series of interviews. This thesis utilizes a narrative analysis that was guided by a resilience model to identify themes of resilience within an Indigenous context. The thesis describes issues relating to the political and cultural contexts of the participant’s early life as well as providing an overview of the personal experiences of adversity as narrated by him.

The results of this study relating to resilience show that the relationships the participant developed and the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal resources available to him in the community helped him to survive. The results are consistent with the literature, which suggests the importance of addressing issues that impact on youth resilience at the individual, family and community levels. From a holistic perspective using a medicine wheel approach, I describe three broad interventions focusing on helping Aboriginal youth at the community, family/peer and individual levels. Each level includes general strategies that the participant utilized on his path of resilience but also includes additional specific strategies based on the published literature that focus on increasing resilience in order to nurture the spirit, body, emotions and mind. Through the medium of storytelling, this study begins to address the lack of research about resilience among Aboriginal youth. Storytelling, based on the experiences of individuals, is a powerful method of sharing life lessons for the benefit of the next generation. It is hoped that this study will contribute to the on-going conversation of how to create supportive services that foster health and well-being among Aboriginal youth.

Eric Soulière

Digital Storytelling in Social Work Research and Practice: An Advanced Practicum

Paulo Friere stated that, in order to create a just and equal society, we must ensure that all people’s voices are heard. Social workers have a duty to work towards achieving social justice. One way in which social workers have attempted to effect positive social change has been through the use of research. Numerous researchers have argued that digital storytelling may offer a technique for empowering those who do not have a voice. The purpose of this project was to complete an advanced practicum by conducting and participating in digital storytelling activities. The objective was to learn how digital storytelling can be a useful healing tool for Indigenous people. This advanced practicum project involved participating in a digital storytelling workshop, creating a digital story, job shadowing and conducting an interview with a digital storytelling facilitator, analyzing digital stories created by the Poverty, Homelessness and Migration project at Laurentian University and examining the application of the project findings to social work practice. These activities enabled me to understand the method and the perspectives of Indigenous people who lived in remote communities in northeastern Ontario and who had experienced homelessness. The analysis for the project was based on seven digital stories created by Indigenous people who lived in remote communities in northeastern Ontario and who had experienced homelessness. The six key themes that emerged from the analysis were homelessness, addictions, childhood abuse, family issues, mental health and resilience. This advanced practicum project provides an understanding of how digital storytelling can benefit and empower participants, inform the general public about the unique issues faced by Indigenous people. The implications of the project are discussed with regard to relevance for the field of social work.

Heather Soady-Easton

Human-animal interactions have both physiological and psychological benefits for humans (Wells, 2009). The ways in which people with mental health illness experience relationships with animals may be useful to their treatment and recovery. This study describes the experiences of those who have chosen to have psychiatric service dogs in order to assist them in living with their mental illness. Two participants were interviewed in their homes with their psychiatric service dogs. Using a combination of narrative and phenomenological approaches, the researcher narrated the stories of the participants, extracted significant statements from the data in order to identify themes, and, ultimately, sought to describe the essence of the experience of human-animal interaction for those who have psychiatric service dogs. The results of the analysis revealed an overarching theme of social functioning, as well as three major themes: benefits, accessibility, and responsibility. A greater understanding of the human-animal bond and interactions between the two will provide information on how the human-animal bond can be further utilized as a means of support, service, and therapy. The description of the participants’ experiences may be helpful in social work and useful in addressing the therapy and recovery needs of people with mental illness. The findings may also be useful in the training and placement of psychiatric service dogs.

Lindsay Tulloch

The placements discussed in this advanced practicum paper focused on developing my knowledge of social work practice with people who have an acquired brain injury (ABI). The first placement took place at a hospital in Northern Ontario, while the second took place in the community with an Indigenous woman who had a brain injury. At the hospital, I observed and reflected upon the social work approaches used and analyzed the extent to which they reflected best practices in this field. I actively participated in all aspects of social work roles. I reflected on strategies for incorporating anti-oppressive practices into my future role as a social worker who works with people living with an ABI. In my community-based practicum, I aimed to understand the experiences of an Indigenous woman with an ABI who previously had been in the hospital and was now living semi-independently. Using an individual, practice-based case study, I recorded our experiences together, developed a summary of major themes that I observed and prepared a case study of our time together. My general conclusion from working in these two settings is that people with an ABI experience a lack of emotionally supportive services both in the hospital and when they return to their homes or live in a residential or group home setting. I also observed that people with a brain injury are generally stereotyped as being dangerous, mentally ill or lazy. Finally I made recommendations for change and noted the implications for social work.
Keywords: acquired brain injury (ABI), hospital social work practice

Hiren Rawal

Mental Health Challenges and Substance Abuse among Homeless Persons: Histories of Family Separation

Prior research on homelessness has examined varied issues such as reasons for homelessness, characteristics of homeless people, factors related to homelessness, attitudes towards homelessness, pathways to homelessness, and migratory or transient homelessness. However, mental health challenges and/or substance abuse issues among homeless individuals who have experienced family separation during childhood or adolescence is an understudied area, particularly within the specific geographic region of the City of Greater Sudbury, Northern Ontario, Canada. The current thesis addresses this knowledge gap.

This thesis used a qualitative research design and in-depth interviews to explore the subjective experiences of a marginalized and oppressed group of homeless individuals. A purposive sampling strategy was used to recruit participants who ranged in age from 18 to 57 years. The interviews of thirteen participants were analyzed through the application of a generic approach to qualitative analysis which included the identification of codes, categories, subthemes, and themes. Moreover, various validation strategies used in the study included prolonged engagement, a reflective journal, rich and thick description and an audit trail to establish credibility, trustworthiness, and transferability of the study.

Three major themes were identified including separation from family, homelessness, and mental health and substance abuse. The first theme of separation from family included the subthemes of pathways to separation, perceived reasons for separation, experiences after separation, connections with biological family, and emotions and impact. The second theme of homelessness included pathways to homelessness, perceived contributing factors, experiences of homelessness, relationships and connections, and Aboriginal homelessness. Lastly, the theme of mental health and substance abuse included experiences of mental health and addiction issues, perceived associated factors, consequences, coping and healing.

The findings have particular relevance and implications for social and health policy development in various areas including the child welfare system, housing and homelessness, and mental health and substance abuse. The research findings emphasize the significance of providing supports and interventions to caregivers to ensure a stable and secure family life for children who are victims of abuse and maltreatment; in addition, the findings of this thesis underscore the importance of providing a continuum of seamless services for youth leaving the child welfare system or being “kicked out” or escaping their homes. Furthermore, the findings reveal the need to break intergenerational cycles of placements in care, transience in care, as well as forms of homelessness and housing instability faced by vulnerable youth and adults who have experienced family separation. In particular, there is a need to understand the impact of intergenerational trauma, colonial policies and placements in residential schools amongst homeless Aboriginal people facing mental health and substance abuse issues.

Frankie Misner

Analysis of the Documentary Film the Will to Live, and Development of a Facilitator’s Guide

Homelessness is a complex reality for many First Nations people. It is often an effect of migration from home communities in an attempt to leave circumstances of unemployment, overcrowded housing and poverty. Yet, little is known about homelessness and migration in Canada, particularly in relation to Cree people from the James Bay coast. The purpose of this advanced practicum project was twofold: first, to engage in a learning process about extreme poverty and homelessness to inform social work practice; second, to further awareness of homelessness through the development of a facilitator’s guide to be used in conjunction with screenings of the documentary film, The Will to Live (2013). The documentary video focuses on a Cree man from Kashechewan who shares his story of homelessness. The video presents a range of themes that explore homelessness through one man’s journey.

The advanced practicum project was based on an analysis the documentary film that enabled an exploration of key themes. Most notable among them were issues pertaining to the impacts of colonization on Indigenous people in relation to homelessness. The facilitator’s guide offers an Aboriginal theoretical framework based on the four stages of a Cree Medicine Wheel: it includes an introduction, literature review (the East), and visual representations (the South) based on photographs of relevant posters and wall hangings pertinent to the documentary video. It also includes questions to guide individuals in reflecting on the content of the film as well as questions for group discussion (the West). In addition, an exercise in the form of a closing discussion is presented (the North). The guide may be particularly useful within specific learning environments such as senior high school social justice classes, first year undergraduate social work programs and community college social services programs. Although its use is not considered to be exclusive to these audiences, it is acknowledged that these groups offer an academic point of entry towards increasing public awareness of the issue of homelessness as the members of these groups are adults or persons on the cusp of adulthood. An evaluation of the facilitator’s guide was conducted as part of the advanced practicum. The draft guide was presented to two groups in order to screen the video and to explore and discuss views and opinions of the film and the guide. The first group included six professional Indigenous and non-Indigenous women while the second group comprised 22 students of a post-secondary Indigenous studies class. It was noted that the guide was developed in a manner that is respectful of one man’s story of homelessness and the valuable insights he shares. Through the creation of a facilitator’s guide, the educational focus allows for a learning continuum and greater public understanding of the living circumstances of homelessness. The analysis of the film using a Cree Medicine Wheel and the application of holistic approaches used within Indigenous social work practice offer an opportunity to increase understanding and respect for Indigenous perspectives and experiences. Given recent media attention to the housing crisis in Attawapiskat First Nation, a James Bay coastal community, and flood damage to housing in Kashechewan First Nation in April 2013, the completion of this advanced practicum offers a timely and proactive approach to increasing awareness of homelessness.

Arshi Shaikh

Flood Mitigation in Kashechewan First Nation: Potential Policy Solutions

Floods are the most frequent natural hazards in Canada; they are extremely costly in terms of property damage and have adverse social and health impacts on affected people. In Canada, the issue is particularly severe among many First Nations which face annual flooding and evacuations due to the geographic location of their communities. In addition to psychological and financial costs associated with flooding and displacement, there is a grave reality of damage to housing and infrastructure in these communities (Wilson, 2012).

Kashechewan, a First Nation community, situated in the low lands of James Bay region in northern Ontario, has reported issues of annual flooding, evacuation and displacement over the past several years. This advanced practicum was designed to explore the intersecting issues of flooding and displacement encountered by Kashechewan First Nation from an environmental justice perspective and to propose sustainable, viable, and long-term policy options to break the annual cycle of flood hazard and the associated consequences. The environmental justice framework remains largely underutilized for policy development in Canada; hence the practicum addressed this knowledge gap. The practicum intended to bring the perspectives of community members to the forefront and to encourage civic participation in the development of flood hazard mitigation policies. The perspectives of community members, as reflected in a previous study by Emily Faries (2007) as well as in the narratives of key informants, were incorporated throughout this practicum paper to inform the policy analysis processes. Key informants included Grand Chief Stan Louttit and Deputy Chief Leo Friday, both of Mushkegowuk Council. Leo Friday was a former Chief of Kashechewan First Nation.

The policy practicum explored the historical and ongoing colonial processes associated with the current issue of flooding, the magnitude of the flood hazard, current flood hazard management policies and programs operating in Kashechewan First Nation and the policy solutions devised by different jurisdictions within and outside Canada. The environmental justice lens revealed an undercurrent of ongoing environmental colonialism, oppression, and racism embedded in the issue of flooding encountered by Kashechewan First Nation.

Subsequent to the examination of contextual factors and various policy solutions, viable long-term policy alternatives for flood hazard mitigation were developed and analyzed utilizing the environmental justice framework. Recommendations for future policy development were suggested wherein flood hazard mitigation policy initiatives—particularly the relocation of the community to higher grounds—could be integrated with civic engagement and community capacity building, and potentially with broader regional development in the western James Bay area. The role of social workers and social policy analysts in integrated flood hazard mitigation and community development was discussed in the paper. Although the practicum focused on the localized issue of floods, evacuation and displacement faced by Kashechewan residents, it was recognized that the recommended policy actions might offer solutions for other First Nations facing the similar issues.

Scott Martin Corbett

Looking for Solutions: Perspectives of Homeless Persons on Experiences Related to the Child Welfare System

Homelessness is becoming an epidemic across our nation, and the numbers of youth who have been, or are in, the care of a Children’s Aid Society (CAS) are increasing. Youth leaving or aging out of care often do not make a positive transition from the child welfare system to independent living. Within this population, substantial numbers fail to graduate from high school, have difficulty in finding jobs, and struggle to break the reliance they have on the child welfare system as they seek independence and success.

The purpose of this practicum project was to gain an understanding of the perspectives and experiences of key participants of Poverty, Homelessness and Migration (2011). Based upon numerous interviews, a persistent theme was that a significant proportion of the homeless individuals interviewed had, at one time, been involved in some way with child welfare authorities (Poverty Homelessness and Migration, 2011). This was identified as an area for further examination and provided an opportunity for a research practicum.Thus, the focus of the practicum was on participants who self-identified as having had contact with the child welfare system. The practicum project aimed to gain an understanding of the experiences of homeless persons’ experiences of child welfare and its impacts on them. The research component of the practicum was conducted through a qualitative inquiry with a sample of eight participants who self-identified as having had involvement in their youth with the CAS. The method of inquiry allowed for a content analysis of the transcribed interviews and examination of themes emerging from the data (Esterberg, 2002). Overall, the results revealed that the interviewees had difficult childhoods and were placed outside their familial setting. Although not unanimous, feelings towards the CAS were negative and people had left their foster homes for independence before the age of 18. The findings of this practicum project raise questions regarding the age of eligibility for child welfare involvement and suggest that additional efforts are needed to bolster post-care supports, the adoption process, and the building of a network of services that homeless people can access. Further, concerns with the housing shortage and the financial and environmental barriers that homeless people encounter were raised and discussed.

Among the participants, there was a collective desire for change to correct the shortcomings of the system and community. The recommendations centred on increased funding to social assistance, better access to subsidized house and the implementation of strategies to address gaps in services for youth. This practicum project has also raised my awareness of the experiences of Aboriginal people. Given the abuse, manipulation, and cultural attacks that Aboriginals have faced throughout history, it is understandable that they are not trusting of child welfare. When working with Aboriginal clients, it is imperative that a worker understands and demonstrates sensitivity for the Native culture and way of life. By showing honour and respect, the worker faces fewer barriers when making an effort to support Aboriginal clients in identifying their challenges. Such an approach can assist with finding solutions.

Given my employment in the field of child welfare, I believe that there are some significant points related to perceptions of child welfare which need to be addressed. In general, changes in child welfare practice, such as closer collaboration with other community based services and more careful placement of children with family members, are suggested as ways to help prevent homelessness for individuals. Certain adverse experiences of participants could have been avoided, if acted upon properly. The CAS is often seen as a negative influence, in the same light as other social welfare systems such as ODSP, Ontario Works, and policing. Action is required to deal with these aspects. The CAS has a great responsibility to assist its wards, families, and children in succeeding. I will strive to integrate the knowledge gained from this practicum into my social work practice within a child welfare setting in northern Ontario.

Amy Boyd

Understanding the Housing Needs of Homeless Persons who Experience Mental Illness

Within the published literature, homeless persons who experience mental illness have been identified as a special at-risk population (Moxley & Freddolino, 1991). The needs of this population have not been not well identified or understood from their perspectives and further research must be conducted to explore the issues related to homelessness, housing and mental health (Moxley & Freddolino, 1991).

The main purpose of this practicum project was to understand the needs and living circumstances of persons who are homeless and experiencing mental illness. The project explored the relationship between inadequate housing, homelessness and mental illness. My objective is to produce new knowledge and recommendations about the needs of homeless mentally ill persons and their experiences by analyzing their narratives, organizing a photovoice exhibit and comparing the recommendations of viewers of the exhibit with those of the homeless participants of the photovoice project.

This project is based on information from a photovoice study conducted on homelessness, in Sudbury, Ontario in 2007-2008. The data include 13 interviews and photographs taken by the 13 participants. A major element of this project involved organizing a photovoice exhibit entitled “Living on the outside: a photo exhibit exploring the realities of home.” This exhibit was held in Sudbury, Ontario at a gallery, Artists on Elgin, May 5 to 14, 2011. Invitations were extended to homeless persons, decision makers as well as the staff in community agencies that serve the homeless and mentally ill populations. The event was also publicized widely to draw in the general public.

This practicum project has revealed new knowledge about the needs of homeless and near homeless persons who have mental health issues, by providing an understanding of their experiences and the relationship between housing and mental health issues. A general thematic approach was used to analyze the narratives and photographs. Five key themes emerged from the analysis—fear, anger, depression, marginalization and resiliency. Understanding the needs of people who are homeless with mental health issues allows social workers and other community professionals to become advocates in creating awareness and potentially creating change at all levels of government. Furthermore, creating new knowledge regarding these issues may also aid in educating the public and can assist in decreasing the stigma and marginalization of persons who are homeless and experience mental illness.

Karen Kusins

Please do not label me, get to know me, I am human: Experiences of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Homeless Women in Northern Ontario

While it is difficult to determine with great accuracy the number of homeless people in Canada, as of February, 2009, there were reportedly about 150,000 homeless people; however some have speculated that there may be twice that number (Human Rights Council, 2009). For this research women who are survivors of violence were interviewed as women who leave abusive relationships are at risk for becoming homeless (The Alliance to End Homelessness, 2006). This thesis utilizes mixed-methods, qualitative design to explore the experiences of ten homeless women in the City of Greater Sudbury, Ontario. Grounded theory method provided a process for collecting data from the experts—those experiencing homelessness—and for analyzing data using systematic procedures which allowed themes to be generated from the data.

Women’s stories presented in narrative form allow the voices of the women to be heard through their own descriptions and understandings of the experience of homelessness. Seven of the women interviewed were of Aboriginal descent while the remainder were Anglophone or Francophone of European descent. The main themes emerging from the analysis pertained to the participants’ sense of belonging and identity, experiences of living on the street, sex work and social services. These themes are explored to provide insights into the experience of becoming or being homeless. The results show the ways in which homeless women are hidden and invisible. There are many similarities but also some key differences between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal women’s experiences of homelessness; these differences stem from Aboriginal women’s experiences of racism, discrimination and historical processes of colonization. Giving a voice to those who are oppressed and marginalized may empower vulnerable women in Northern Ontario and create visibility by exposing the barriers that women endure. This qualitative study provides pertinent knowledge for policy-makers and program providers that could assist them in addressing the needs of women living in Northern Ontario more effectively.

Tanya Shute

Hidden in Plain Sight: Exploring the Living Circumstances of Homelessness in Northern and Southern Ontario

It is difficult for most of us who have not experienced homelessness or housing insecurity to comprehend the impact such circumstances have on people’s lives. Photovoice participatory action research offers a method that enables us to hear and see first-hand what it is like to live with homelessness or housing insecurity from the perspectives of participants with lived expertise. The current study used a photovoice methodology to generate both narrative and visual data, and used a grounded theory approach to the organization and analysis of the data which explore the living circumstances of absolute and at-risk homelessness. The thesis project involved eleven participants in two areas of Ontario: Greater Sudbury and York Region. A member-checking process was undertaken in order to improve the reliability of the findings and to honour the participatory foundations of this research project. A visual analysis of participants’ photographs was conducted to enhance findings and to contribute to the trustworthiness of analysis. The study was intended to amplify the voices of lived experience. Therefore the results were not only generated from, but also illustrated by the voices of and photographs taken by the participants. The extensive use of participants’ voices taken directly from the data is also a method of reliability (Creswell, 2008). This study reveals the palpable experiences of social exclusion and of “being no place” that participants articulate as a significant living condition of homelessness. The findings suggest that the service system in its current state does not work for many. The results indicate that there is a need for high-support and low-restriction social services that are sensitive to the barriers that normative behavioural expectations and regulations pose. Implications of this thesis pertain to the need for new perspectives and service responses toward homelessness, for greater recognition of the impact of homelessness on citizenship and social belonging and for social work, as a collective field, to continue to advocate for an increase to the supply of safe and affordable housing, including supportive housing options.