Publication Date

2010

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Jim Levinson

Abstract

Homelessness has existed in many societies around the world over the years. It is one of society’s emerging problems, has been a serious glitch in our developmental evolution and progress. With impressive strides in science, economics, and technology among others in the last 50 years, one would have thought that homelessness would be on the decline instead there is an increasing trend in the 21st century. In the United States, homelessness has come to the public fore since the 1980’s and in recent times has been compounded by the downturn of the economy. Homelessness has been define by the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) as “ an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or more, or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years” Several concepts such as Emergency Shelters and Transitional Housing have been advanced, which offer short to medium-term programs to give relief and restoration of independent living for people who become homeless. This study is a reflection on six months midterm evaluation exercise of the Turning Point Transitional Housing program run by The Salvation Army in Alexandria, VA. Participatory evaluation and Program Constraint Assessment (PCA) were used as the evaluation methodology. Data gathering, interviews, internal records review and questionnaires were used to get information for research analysis. The research question primarily included: (1) to what extent has desired changes of independent living occurred in participants? (2) How is The Turning Point program responsible for such changes? The findings from the study showed that although The Turning Point program had achieved progress in rehabilitating 8 women currently in the program, the successes been modest. Overall however, problems such as of lack of quality staffing, inadequate program funds, and others severely affected the operational capacity and effectiveness of the program. Despite HUD’s endorsement of Transitional Housing as an essential means to reform homeless people, beneficiaries and service providers have advocated otherwise. These critics have emphasized the stigma with Transitional housing program and the priority to provide funding for Transitional Housing instead of expanding the supply and access to affordable permanent housing. The Turning Point program has been a good one serving the homeless in Alexandria, VA. The Salvation Army in particular is doing a commendable work in creating a sense of belonging to a lot the homeless people within and without the program.

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Inequality and Stratification | Place and Environment | Social Welfare

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