Retelling Stories of Resilience as a Counterplot to Homelessness: A Narrative Approach in the Context of Intensive Team-Based Housing Support Services

Jordan Mills

Abstract


This paper describes the use of narrative practices in the context of a Housing First program operated by the Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Service to help people in the process of overcoming homelessness tell their stories in ways that make them stronger. Housing First is an evidence-based intervention that offers immediate provision of permanent housing and wrap-around supports to individuals with persistent mental illness and other complicating co-morbidities who are experiencing homelessness. The paper arises from my reflections on learning whilst on social work practicum.

 

Through participating in the narrative practice, people overcoming homelessness richly described their knowledge, skills, and abilities in getting through difficult times. This was effective in helping people to reacquaint themselves with a sense of purpose in life, while the audiences gave greater authentication and acknowledgement to people’s hopes and dreams for the future. This revealed that I could work more effectively by supporting people’s own initiatives rather than attempting to “fix” problems. What stood out the most was how the presenting problems were so closely correlated to larger and often oppressive social discourses. The linking of lives through shared purposes contributes to a collective voice that can amplify social issues and reverberate outward on a larger scale in the pursuit of social justice.


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Social Work & Policy Studies: Social Justice, Practice and Theory

ISSN 2209-0878