Department

Leadership

Date of Paper/Work

Spring 3-17-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Dissertation

Advisors

Eleni Roulis; Buffy Smith; Karen Westberg

Abstract

Childhood memories are important for those who are caught in the confines of poverty and homelessness. This is a qualitative and phenomenological research study with a focus on the narratives of five African American women who were previously homeless. The first research question identified emerging themes. Five main themes were acknowledged: family interactions, education, abuse and violence, nutrition, and the effects of stability in childhood. The two part second research question referred to the negative power of systems that vilify and curtail transformative growth, as well as community input to solve issues of poverty and homelessness. The study was conducted in Saint Paul, Minnesota and four of the five women interviewed received social services from a local day shelter program. Each woman agreed to participate in a three hour-long interview. Data analysis of the interviews revealed that childhood issues carried through to later years. It was important for those interviewed to have the correct problem solving tools to overcome adversity. Usually poverty is defined as the lack of financial resources. It was found that in order to reduce homelessness, society has to broaden the definition to the inability of a person to find correct, current, and useful information that has the means to change their financial and emotional status. The common threads of homelessness and poverty identify the need for governmental entitlement changes. The scourge of poverty can be viewed from a perspective of a challenge that is both feasible and ultimately manageable.

Keywords

Childhood narratives, homeless African American women, phenomenological methodology, qualitative research

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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