Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

D.S.W. Social work

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Stephen W. Stoeffler

Second Advisor

Dr. Juliana Svistova

Third Advisor

Dr. Karen Rice

Abstract

Family homelessness emerged as a social issue in the United States in the 1980s and has since established itself as a pervasive social problem. The issue of family homelessness is complex and multifaceted with multiple social, political, and economic contributing factors. Historically, society at large has been apt to attribute homelessness to individual faults and deficits, but the fact that family homelessness has only emerged and persisted as a notable social problem in recent decades hints at political and economic mechanisms at work that serve to complicate and perpetuate the problem. Tenant eviction is one such mechanism that appears to be a major contributing factor to housing instability and episodic family homelessness. Eviction has recently come under scrutiny by sociologists, economists, and attorneys at law but has received little, if any, attention from the field of social work. As social workers are mandated by their code of ethics to aid and empower vulnerable, poor, and oppressed populations, the potential role that insufficient knowledge of tenant rights and eviction play in compounding and exacerbating family homelessness demands investigation by the social work profession. This study explores the potential of intervention with homeless families to provide information on tenant rights and responsibilities. The intervention is based in critical and empowerment theories and designed with the intention of raising critical consciousness among families experiencing homelessness. Findings from the study indicate that the intervention shows promise as a vehicle for empowering homeless families with knowledge and skills for successful tenancy. The social work field is encouraged to pursue further intervention research as a venue for empowering homeless families to effectively address their own needs.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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