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Community-Engaged Scholarship Outside of the Social Work Classroom With the Homeless

Case
By: Eva M. Moya, Silvia María Chávez-Baray, Courtney Adcox & Omar Martínez Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
Methods: Photographs
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Abstract

Paying attention to clients’ search for the meaningfulness of their life experiences is essential in social work practice to gather insights into education and service provision. The study describes the photovoice project on homelessness in El Paso, Texas, where graduate students and persons experiencing homeless worked as co-researchers. The research questions included the following: How does homelessness affect the mental and physical health of adults? How does stigma affect the quality of life among the homeless? What are effective strategies to end homelessness? The project built on a collaboration between the University of Texas at El Paso Department of Social Work and the Opportunity Center for the Homeless. Content analysis generated the following themes: stigma, discrimination, broken systems, and resilience. Findings were disseminated through a three-event series on Homelessness hosted by the University and the Opportunity Center for the Homeless and were attended by 425 individuals. Photovoice participants presented their photos and stories to community leaders. The project received seed funding from the College of Health Sciences to document project-related outcomes and conduct follow-up. Ten of the participants are now living in single resident units, one became an assistant manager of a resource center, two completed graduate degrees, and one is the co-author of this case.

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