Community Health Promotion With People Who Are Experiencing Homelessness

Homelessness is an experience of being displaced. Once removed from their personal places, homeless people are barred access to healthy places in which to be. Health clinics for people who are experiencing homelessness offer an opportunity to create health-promoting places. In this study, we explore how place is experienced within a community health clinic for people who are experiencing homelessness. A critical ethnographic methodology was used. Results illustrate how clients and providers contested the space of the clinic. Discourses of safety, health promotion, and privacy were enacted, altered, and resisted in a constant practice of culture-making. Physical components of the space became conceptual components of how place and power in place were understood by clients and providers. Results point to the importance of conceptualizing service users as the key stakeholders in their care, considering how places may be more or less health promoting, and rethinking how safety is conceptualized.

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Journal of Community Health Nursing