Giving Voice to Homeless People in Policy, Practice, and Research

Giving Voice to Homeless People in Policy, Practice, and Research

Consumer involvement in programs that serve homeless people has been growing in the past ten to fifteen years. There is a growing body of literature that supports the benefits of consumer involvement on the programmatic, policy, and administrative levels. Consumer empowerment ranges from participation in a community meeting or on an advisory board, to hiring consumer staff, to completely consumer-run programs and organizations. While there is resistance within any system to hand over power to a stigmatized group, once done, the system may find that it has higher quality and more responsive services. Research finds that consumers can perform as well as non-consumer staff and are especially skilled at engaging potential clients. Within consumer-run organizations, the focus of service delivery is on choice, dignity and respect. There are a number of things that federal, state and local governments can do to encourage consumer involvement in decision-making, staff hiring, and the creation and survival of consumer-run organizations. (Author)

EVENT: National Symposium on Homelessness Research
PUBLICATION DATE: 1998
LOCATION: Washington, D.C.

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