Methods: The study team collected in-depth qualitative data through three focus groups with interdisciplinary teams of Wahine Talk providers, four focus groups with youth participants, and 25 individual interviews with youth participants (total participants included seven Wahine Talk providers and 35 youth participants, aged 14-22 years). Transcripts were then analyzed by multiple team members using a structured, six step thematic analysis process. The team first familiarized itself with the data and generated initial codes individually. Then, the team collaborated to search for, review, define, and name themes. Study rigor was enhanced through triangulation of data sources, regular peer debriefing, and member checking with Wahine Talk providers.
Findings: Thematic analysis revealed that access to housing was facilitated for the youth participants by the following factors: (1) having staff that the youth trust, (2) one-on-one hours with staff focused on getting to know the youth and working collaboratively on addressing housing needs, and (3) if needed, the availability of additional, specialized staff support via an in-house Youth Housing Placement and Retention Specialist, who was part of the larger youth drop-in center. While the youth generally did not have suggestions to improve the housing linkage services, the providers agreed it would be beneficial to have a dedicated Housing Specialist as part of the Wahine Talk team who could help the youth navigate the often complex application processes associated with various types of public housing and housing voucher programs in Hawai’i.
Conclusions and Implications: The findings highlight the importance of staffing as it relates to facilitating access to housing through a holistic sexual and reproductive health program, especially given their role in building trust with the youth participants and allowing open, honest communication. By identifying appropriate and specialized housing staff, and allowing more one-on-one staff-participant hours, program staff can help youth get linked to housing. Further research is needed on the role housing can play in improving sexual and reproductive health among YEH.