The Homeless Hub has released a new study measuring the quality of life for adults and youth experiencing homelessness.
Youth and adults who are experiencing homelessness connected quality of life to feelings of respect and acceptance. Those experiencing homelessness frequently do not feel like they have full citizenship within society. This is partly due to media and advertising portrayals that reproduce negative stereotypes of homelessness.
Six major themes emerged that affect quality of life.
- Access to mental health, fitness and addictions programs.
- Living conditions within homeless shelters or quality of housing.
- Having enough money to survive.
- Relationships with family and friends.
- Stable employment, which was harder to gain due to stigma.
- Activities that provided a break from street life. This includes watching T.V., listening to music, travelling or reading.
Youth and adults reflected on feelings of exclusion as a result of the reproduction of stereotypes, sometimes by the same agencies providing services. Exclusion and stigma led to a feeling that they lacked full citizenship within society. Youth found personal growth was important to their quality of life. Participants wanted to feel respected and recognized by others.
Go to http://www.homelesshub.ca/ResourceFiles/Measuring_quality_of_life.pdf to read the full report.
Think about using the report …
In order to design programs that are meant to benefit street involved youth and homeless adults, it is important to understand their specific needs. This means designing programs that address the factors that affect their quality of life.
Ads and fundraising campaigns can use imagery that is hurtful to people who are homeless. Prior to posting ad campaigns, agencies should make sure they are not recreating stereotypes.
In addition to clean, safe, private and secure housing, funding should be made available for programs that provide access to
recreational programs. The goal of these programs should be to provide a break from street life.