Finding home: Community integration experiences of formerly homeless women with problematic substance use in Housing First [2020]

This study explored community integration among women participating in a Housing First program. Physical, social, and psychological dimensions of community integration were examined.

This study used neighborhood walk‐along and photo‐elicitation interviews to explore 16 formerly homeless women’s experiences of community integration.

Participants described limited community integration. Health, poverty, service inaccessibility, and safety concerns shaped how they took part in activities in their neighborhoods. Participants primarily socialized with people in their buildings, though some preferred to keep to themselves. There was minimal sense of neighborhood belonging, with participants not interested in belonging to a community and being judged by others.

Housing First promoted housing stability but did not contribute to community integration. Participants did not express a strong desire to integrate in their communities. Future research should consider the extent to which community integration remains a priority for marginalized populations, such as formerly homeless women.

Amandeep Bassi, John Sylvestre, Nick Kerman
Journal of Community Psychology, 11 August 2020