Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2003




To evaluate the processes and outcomes of a short-term shelter, both quantitative and qualitative data were gathered via participant observation, focus group interviews with shelter staff and residents, and individual interviews with a sample of 40 young women who had been homeless prior to using the shelter. The process evaluation showed that the shelter staff strived to utilize an empowerment philosophy in their relationships with residents, but that there were many challenges to implementing this philosophy. The outcome evaluation showed that, at a 3-month follow-up, the participants reported significant improvements in housing, income, independence, and life satisfaction, but most continued to experience poverty and a number of other difficulties. The results were discussed in terms of the implications for future research and the value and limitations of shelters for dealing with homeless youth. The need for more sustained and comprehensive program interventions and supportive social policies was underscored.


This article was originally published in Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 22(1): 99-112.