Pathways to independence: the experience of young homeless people

Fitzpatrick, Suzanne (1997) Pathways to independence: the experience of young homeless people. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Youth homelessness surged in the late 1980s and has been sustained at very high levels in the 1990s. It is a distressing phenomenon which has attracted considerable, if intermittent, attention from politicians, researchers and the media in the past few years. Their concerns have focused mainly on young people sleeping rough in city centre streets and staying in homeless hostels. However, within the research community at least there has been growing recognition of 'hidden' homelessness amongst young people living in local communities. It was these broader patterns of youth homelessness which I set out to investigate in this research.
The central aim of my study was to illuminate the processes of youth homelessness by exploring the experiences of young people from a peripheral housing scheme in Glasgow called Drumchapel. I investigated the existence of distinct subgroups within the young homeless population by focusing upon the range of 'pathways' they took through homelessness. A 'life course' approach was taken in the thesis, in other words, young people's experiences of homelessness were placed in the context of their lives as a whole.

There were three phases of empirical research. The initial stage involved 8 group discussions with young people in Drumchapel. The main stage of data collection consisted of 25 biographical interviews with young homeless people who were living in, or originated from, Drumchapel. The final phase of fieldwork was a follow-up exercise to 'track' these 25 young people one year later. Altogether, 53 young people participated in the research.

A framework of six pathways through homelessness was developed based on three variables: the location, stability and status (as 'official' or 'unofficial') of young people's accommodation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Supervisor's Name: Donnison, Prof. David and Clapham, Prof. David
Date of Award: 1997
Depositing User: Elaine Ballantyne
Unique ID: glathesis:1997-1322
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2009
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:37

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