Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Community Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Maritt Kirst

Advisor Role



The present study explored how a Housing First for Youth intervention, working from an empowerment theory approach, influences the social integration of youth experiencing homelessness. This was done by contrasting between groups of individuals who either did or did not receive the intervention. The sample consisted of 86 youth in the city of Ottawa between the ages of 17-24 who were randomized into the intervention (n=44) or treatment as usual group (n=42). Quantitative data from baseline and 6-month follow-up were analyzed using the Community Integration Scale (CIS) and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS). Repeated measures ANOVA revealed an effect for time but not by study group in the MSPSS subscales and the CIS psychological subscale, but this effect disappeared when controlling for the country of birth variable. Baseline narrative interviews (n=20), which occurred during the first 13.5 months of the program, were analyzed for emergent themes related to social integration. Findings from narrative interviews demonstrated the complex ways youth exiting homelessness experience social integration including the importance of social support and feelings of membership, and a lack of knowledge of resources in the community to support physical integration. By using a mixed-methods approach, study findings revealed that a greater emphasis on social support and addressing knowledge gaps on how to integrate physically into the community may be beneficial for the first year after youth exit homelessness due to the tendency for feelings of isolation and loneliness to occur during this time period. Future implications for the study include following the effects of the intervention on social integration over the 2-year mark due to the nature of social integration, which is not a rapid or linear process.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season