Portland State University. Department of Sociology
Term of Graduation
Date of Publication
Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology
Homeless persons -- Oregon -- Portland -- Social conditions, Homeless persons -- Oregon -- Portland -- Interviews, Habitus (Sociology), Housing, Shelters for the homeless
1 online resource (viii, 93 pages)
Past research has shown that it is possible for individuals to exit houselessness. However, it does little to provide insights into the types of experiences and events that facilitate these moves towards housing stability. This study explores indepth interviews, utilizing an interview guide with 12 individuals who exited houselessness in Portland, Oregon. This research project seeks to understand the conditions that influence successful exits out of houselessness from the perspective of the lived experiences of once houseless individuals. This study utilizes two theoretical frameworks, the theory of Habitus (Bourdieu, 1977 & Wacquant, 1998) and the networking theory of Strong and Weak Ties (Granovetter, 1973), as the conceptual underpinning of this work. Habitus is the totality of one's resources which include social capital, (i.e., education, social class, and networks) economic capital (i.e. money and wealth), it is the totality of acquired experiences, and is expanded by day-to-day interactions. Through the utility of Habitus individuals learn how to maneuver in and out of houselessness. Granovetter's work also focuses on the value of social interactions. According to Granovetter, one's extended social network serves as an informational storehouse where knowledge is gained and transferred. These extended networks may prove to be ways in which individuals learn about services and programs that aid in houseless exits. Although both theories are somewhat dated, they are relevant for this study of individuals who have transitioned into housing stability. This study employs these theoretical frameworks to explore the social factors and conditions that enable houseless individuals to make the transition. It relies on narratives developed from interviews with 12 formerly houseless individuals and a grounded theoretical approach to uncover the processes, connections, and conditions that facilitate transitions out of houselessness. These conditions include access to institutional support that was provided from a variety of entry points ranging from contact with the criminal justice system, drug and alcohol programs, social service agencies; and access to social network supports that was facilitated primarily via family, friends, and acquaintances that leverage social capital. This study builds on previous research on houseless individuals who have integrated into conventional housing and lays the framework for future research on factors which facilitate such exits.
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McNair, Joyce La Belle, "Transitioning into Conventional Housing: Narratives of Houseless Individuals" (2020). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5572.