A Narrative Approach to the Evaluation of Supportive Housing Stories of Homeless People Who Have Experienced Serious Mental Illness

Geoffrey Nelson , Juanne Clarke, Angela Febbraro, and Maria Hatzipantelis

Fall 2005

In this study, researchers employ a narrative approach to the evaluation of supportive housing for formerly homeless people who have experienced serious mental illness. According to the accounts of 11 men and 9 women, their youth and adult years were filled with personal problems, troubled relationships, and a lack of adequate social resources. Since entering supportive housing, participants noted more stability in their lives and the beginning of journeys to recover positive personal identities, restore or develop new supportive relationships, and reclaim resources vital to leading lives with dignity and meaning. The findings add to the literature on housing interventions for this population in suggesting many positive gains beyond reductions in homelessness and hospitalization.

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