Bridging Disciplinary Boundaries (January 11 - 14, 2007)

Sunday, January 14, 2007: 8:45 AM-10:15 AM
Seacliff B (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
Diverse Methods, One Goal: Inter-Disciplinary Work and Perspectives to Alleviate and Eliminate Youth and Adult Homelessness
Organizer:Debra Hernandez Jozefowicz-Simbeni, PhD, Wayne State University
Homeless and Housing Instability among Youth Aging out of Foster Care: The Role of Social Bonds
Amy Dworsky
“”: Developing a Website for Street Youth
David E. Pollio, PhD
Applying Developmental Theory and Youth Development to Effective Practices with Homeless Youth and Young Adults
Debra Hernandez Jozefowicz-Simbeni, PhD, Bart W. Miles, PhD, Hillary Heinze, MA, Patrick Fowler, BA
Theory Matters: Social Science Theories in Qualitative Research
Deborah K. Padgett, PhD, Ben Henwood, MSW
Abstract Text:
Homelessness is a social problem of concern to many. As a profession, social work has tackled the issue of homelessness from a policy, practice, advocacy, and research perspective. However, homelessness is a complex phenomena, requiring multiple perspectives and theoretical constructs to fully understand the population and its problems. In order to effectively understand the issue of homelessness and how to alleviate and eliminate it, both inter-disciplinary collaborations and the application of disciplinary theoretical perspectives to homelessness are needed to fully inform policy and practice efforts. The present symposium includes 4 presentations of how social workers have led multidisciplinary teams and are applying theory to explore the complexity of homelessness through diverse conceptual approaches and methodological innovations. These efforts are examples of how to better inform policies and practices related to youth and adult homeless populations.

In the first presentation, a sociological theory of social bonds is applied to the issue homelessness for aging out youth. This presentation identifies needed interventions based on homelessness risk and social support networks for an at-risk population. In the second presentation, a website intervention involving a collaboration between a social worker and an engineer is an example of the creative ways social workers can collaborate with other professionals to develop innovative interventions that use recent technological advances to create social bonds and redress homelessness. The third presentation represents a collaboration between social workers and community psychologists that applies developmental theory and concepts of youth development to demonstrate the effectiveness of agency practices in meeting the needs of homeless youth and young adults. The final presentation uses multiple social science theoretical perspectives and qualitative research methodology to study the needs of and effective practices with homeless, dually-diagnosed adults.

This symposium addresses the theme of this year's SSWR conference by advancing the application of disciplinary perspectives and inter-disciplinary collaborations to create more effective research, policies and practices in relation to the issue of youth and adult homelessness. Each of the presentations provides an example of collaboration and theoretical application that informs and has implications for social work interventions, policy, and research linked to addressing the needs, service utilization, and empowerment of diverse populations of homeless youth and adults.

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