SGS Celebrates Graduate Student Winners of Federal Tri-Council Awards – Laura Kabbash

Author: Andrea

Posted on Aug 4, 2021

Category: Student Stories , Money Matters

Profile of Laura Kabbash

Award Received: Canada Graduate Scholarship, Doctorate (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council)

Awarded for the project: Beyond Risk and Need: Service Utilization Among Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

Faculty: Arts

Department: Psychology

Project supervised by: Scott Ronis, PhD

Homelessness is a critical, yet often ignored issue in Canada, with more than 22,000 Canadians accessing shelters daily. While research has been conducted in Atlantic Canada regarding individuals experiences of homelessness, specific prevalence estimates are difficult to acquire given the situation is commonly transient and episodic. Individuals experiencing homeless are less likely to submit to the research process, potentially with the perception that researchers may not accurately capture their experiences. Furthermore, while there is an extensive body of research examining risk and need factors associated with experiences of homelessness, little research has been conducted on the factors affecting individuals’ responsivity to available resources.

The current project is a multi-phase study in partnership with the John Howard Society evaluating the impact of various factors on individuals’ experiences using community resources. Through semi-structured interviews with various stakeholders (e.g., service providers, shelter service users, peer-support housing users), I will identify target areas for change from their unique perspective. The exploration of multiple viewpoints is crucial because provincial and federal policy decisions often have little to do with the lived experience of service users. Although research suggests that the emergency shelter system is insufficient to address the needs of unhoused individuals, it continues to be prioritized and funded by policy makers. The current project aims to bridge a gap between service users and decision makers through a knowledge translation and mobilization process, with the end goal of maximizing the responsivity between individuals’ needs and the services available.