Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Ginette Lafreniere

Advisor Role

Eliana Suarez


Abstract: The primary purpose of this research study is to explore the narratives of individuals experiencing homelessness within Waterloo Region as well as the practices of those working with the homeless population. The experience of homelessness is often met with an intersection of complex issues including mental health, substance abuse, deteriorating physical health, trauma, etc. Within this study, the concept of “home” and “community” are explored through the lens of homeless men living with these complicated challenges within the context of Waterloo Region. This qualitative study consisted of semi-structured interviews with six service providers and twelve men who were currently or recently homeless. Social Constructivism was used as the theoretical framework within the study as this theory allows ample space for participant voices to be heard. Grounded theory was used to guide the examination of data, which allowed movement between stages of analysis. The findings of this study offer an exploration of the housing strategy currently applied within Waterloo Region. The study informs policy makers and service providers of the experience of homeless individuals and it advances our understanding of the diverse concept of home for those within the street community. Moreover, it provides an initial exploration into creative housing solutions that are not currently available within Waterloo Region. These findings are not only important for those working alongside the homeless population but they also demonstrate the overall importance within social work practice of remaining grounded in and guided by the experiences of participants.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Social Work Commons