University of Hawaiʻi
Former homeless indigenous Hawaiian and Micronesian families and their successful journey to secure housing is at the center of a new pilot study by social work researchers at the University of Hawaii in Mānoa. The study, published in the April 27 issue of Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, used a strengths perspective to understand their improved living conditions, and showed similar themes of strength in their stories.
Assistant Professor Francie J. Julien-Chinn and PhD candidate Mei Linn N. Park of the Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health conducted narrative interviews and analyzed the collected stories of four families, thematically using a family resilience framework. Through in-depth qualitative interviews, the researchers enabled families to tell their stories about their challenges, strengths and protective factors of being homeless.
Protection and resilience factors
The results were consistent with the hypothetical theoretical framework, which identified protective and resilient factors, such as social support, initiative, insight, spirituality, creativity, commitment and hope. In addition to these themes, the study found a preference for the term ‘homeless’ over ‘homeless’, a predominant link with the ʻĀina (earth) and the impact of trauma.
“Remembering and reflecting on being homeless in the past can be a new trauma; however, recognizing the impacts of historical traumas such as the loss of ʻĀina and honor cultural strengths such as the deep connection and relationship with the ʻĀina seemed to reinforce participants’ sense of resilience in their stories, ”said Park, a doctoral student at UH Mānoa. social protection program.
“It is difficult for some to think that homeless individuals or families can be considered resilient. However, these courageous and vulnerable stories deserve to be heard. Homelessness is a structural concern that requires immediate attention. There is much more to learn from this population to better understand and support the homeless crisis, ”added Julien-Chinn.
This research is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Research Excellence: Advancing the Business of Research and Creative Work (PDF), one of the four objectives identified in the 2015-25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.