This study explores the role of informal social support networks of male homeless shelter residents. Authors utilized ethnographic methods, relationality and reflexive research approaches and key informant interviews with 10 shelter residents to investigate perceptions of belonging in overcoming social exclusion and countering the stigmatization cast onto as a result of their condition of homelessness. Study findings challenge our normative conceptions of homelessness by discerning between “rooflessness” and “rootlessness” suggesting that homelessness is more than the absence of shelter, but rather denotes the absence of support and inclusion in one’s community. This research highlights a community within the shelter characterized by notions of acceptance and companionship. The associations shelter residents developed are creative and collaborative survival strategies allowing residents to negotiate their conditions of homelessness. As a result, some residents expressed reluctance to leave the shelter and (re)integrate into the community that had cast them off.
Homelessness, Ethnography, Social Exclusion, Community, Stigma
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Recommended APA Citation
Bell, M., & Walsh, C. A. (2015). Finding a Place to Belong: The Role of Social Inclusion in the Lives of Homeless Men. The Qualitative Report, 20(12), 1974-1994. Retrieved from http://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol20/iss12/4