What is support in supportive housing: Client and service providers' perspectives

Jill Owczarzak, Julia Dickson-Gomez, Mark Convey, Margaret Weeks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Supportive housing programs are proposed as a way of increasing housing access and stability for the chronically homeless, improving access to needed services, and decreasing vulnerability to HIV and other diseases. Little is known about residents' understandings of and experiences with different models of supportive housing and how they fit within residents' broader strategies to maintain housing. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 23 residents and 10 service providers from nine different supportive housing programs in Hartford, Connecticut. Data analysis explored residents' perceptions of and experiences with supportive housing programs in the context of strategies to access resources and receive emotional, financial, and other forms of support. Themes of independence, coercion, and choice pervaded participants' narratives of their experiences accessing services. Concerns with privacy influenced the types of relationships residents formed with program staff and clients. Findings illustrate the need for more ethnographic studies of how supportive housing services are delivered by community agencies and accessed by clients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-262
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Organization
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013


  • community-based programs
  • homelessness
  • mental health and illness
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences


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