Pruitt, A. S. & Gleason, K.
Society for Community Research and Action Biennial Conference, Chicago, IL, - June 26-29, 2019
Publication year: 2019

Community Psychology has long acknowledged the influence of settings, systems, and societal structures in shaping human behavior and community health (O’Donnell, 2006). The discipline largely arose as a reaction against overly individualistic explanations for social problems. Despite these values, community psychology methods and approaches often focus on individual level data and do not capture the contextualized understandings that we seek to generate (Luke, 2005). Like many complex social issues, homelessness plays out across multiple levels and thus, understanding this prevailing social issue and addressing it effectively requires research that addresses multiple levels. This symposium will include presentations on research and interventions that approach homelessness from varying levels and use innovative methods to capture context. The first presentation will include an analysis of dominant cultural narratives on homelessness—a macro- level approach. The second presentation will discuss a study that used geographic information systems analysis to examine homeless service gaps in rural Maine. The third zooms in to community- level considerations by examining the impact of a community’s homelessness crisis on a law enforcement diversion program. The last presentation focuses on program- level factors by examining different trajectories of persons in a Housing First program. Taken together, these presentations highlight the complexity of homelessness and emphasize the need for research and interventions that reflect an ecological understanding of the issue.