An examination of educational services for homeless adults
McKinley, Kenya Yonawa
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the educational programs of faith-affiliated, anti-poverty organizations and the educational services provided by these organizations to their homeless adult clientele. The research questions guiding this study were: 1. What factor(s) shaped the delivery of educational programs provided to homeless adults by faith-affiliated, anti-poverty organizations in a Southeastern community? 2. In what way does program participation influence the living circumstances of homeless adults? Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four program participants who were homeless or formerly homeless citizens, and two program administrators who operated educational programs within faith-affiliated, anti-poverty organizations that specifically targeted homeless adults. The data revealed three emergent themes. The first theme was that homelessness is a persistent life situation that was not easily escaped. The study also found that faith-affiliated, anti-poverty organizations serve as incubators for self-empowerment. The final theme that emerged from this study was the occurrence of conflict between organizational goals and client expectations. There were two major conclusions drawn from this study: 1) the personal agency and contextual issues faced by homeless clients and their ability to engage in self-directed learning shaped the delivery of educational services provided to homeless adults by faith-affiliated, anti-poverty organizations in a Southeastern community; and 2) the living circumstances of homeless adults in a Southeastern community are changed incrementally and longitudinally as a result of being ensnared by the contradictory and often divergent expectations held by homeless adults and program administrators.