|Abstract: ||Homelessness is an important social problem in Canada, and the needs and experiences of women may differ from those of other homeless people. Little research has looked beyond rehousing to examine community integration following homelessness. Predictive models of three distinct facets of community integration for women who have experienced homelessness are presented and tested in this thesis. The first model examines physical integration, which is defined in terms of attaining and retaining stable housing. The second model predicts economic integration, defined in terms of participation in work or education. The third model predicts psychological integration, defined as psychological sense of community in one’s neighbourhood. Data for this research comes from a two-year longitudinal study conducted in Ottawa. Participants were women aged 20 and over (N =101) who were homeless at the study’s outset.
Family status was an important predictor of community integration. Women who were accompanied by dependent children were more likely than those unaccompanied by children to be physically, economically and psychologically integrated in their communities. Having access to subsidized housing predicted becoming rehoused and living in one’s current housing for longer. Greater perceived social support predicted living in one’s current housing for longer. Past work history and mental health functioning predicted economic integration. Lower levels of education predicted returns to full-time studies. Living in higher quality housing and having more positive contact with neighbours predicted psychological integration, while living in one’s current housing for longer predicted lower levels of psychological integration.
Overall, participants achieved a moderate level of community integration. The majority had been housed for at least 90 days at follow-up. However, only a minority were participating in the workforce or education at follow-up. Participants achieved only a moderate level of psychological integration.
Results are discussed in terms of implications for policy and service provision. Improvements in the availability and quality of affordable housing, as well as employment support are recommended. Special attention needs to be paid to providing adequate and effective services for women who are unaccompanied by dependent children.|