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A Constructivist Grounded Theory Study of Refugee Pathways In and Out of Homelessness Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
St Arnault, David
Supervisor and department
Merali, Noofarah (Educational Psychology)
Yohani, Sophie (Educational Psychology)
Kovacs Burns, Kathy (School of Public Health)
Examining committee member and department
Yohani, Sophie (Educational Psychology)
Enns, Rick (Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary)
Kovacs Burns, Kathy (School of Public Health)
Whelton, William(Educational Psychology)
Buck, George (Educational Psychology)
Department of Educational Psychology
Counselling Psychology
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The current global humanitarian crisis has led to the record number of 65 million people being displaced from their homelands (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2017). Canada is one of the top refugee receiving countries in the world, receiving between 20,000 and 40,000 refugees annually (Government of Canada, 2016). Unfortunately, even after immigration, refugees tend to be more vulnerable to homelessness than all other immigrants and the general population in Canada (Murdie, 2008; Preston et al., 2011). The issue of refugee homelessness remains largely neglected in the research literature, with the extent of the problem, pathways into and out of homelessness and the unique service needs of this population remaining poorly understood (DeCandia, Murphy, & Coupe, 2014). This qualitative study utilized a constructivist grounded theory design to investigate the housing trajectories of adult refugees in Edmonton who had experienced homelessness after their arrival in Canada, and who made progress in exiting the cycle of homelessness by obtaining suitable and secure housing. Nineteen refugee participants from diverse countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Rwanda, and Syria participated in semi-structured interviews about their experiences, and their interview disclosures were triangulated with feedback from 10 service providers who had experience assisting refugees with the housing and settlement process. The emerging model of refugee homelessness identified 6 unique pathways into homelessness, and 7 unique pathways out of homelessness that are specific to refugees. Each of these pathways and the implications for policy and practice are discussed in this dissertation.
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