Where Do We Find Help? Examining Digital Communication Channels and Challenges for Services Supporting Houseless People in Edmonton Alberta

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Purpose. When facing a housing crisis, it is crucial to know where to go for help. This Capstone research study examines access to and use of digital communications by individuals seeking houseless support in Edmonton, Alberta. Specifically, through a review of online and social media communication from a support service organization and six semi-structured interviews, I explore how support service organizations and their clients use digital communications, which channels they may prefer, and barriers they may face in accessing information digitally.
    Methods. To answer my research questions, I performed a content analysis of 64 Facebook posts from the Bissell Centre’s Facebook and conducted six, one-on-one semi-structured interviews with people who have experienced houselessness or work in the sector.
    Results. My findings were consistent with existing literature and revealed that individuals benefit from a variety of communication strategies, given the diversity of preferences and needs in the population. I also found that unhoused people may experience the first and second level digital divides.
    Implications. This study identifies limitations in current communication strategies undertaken by support services and compiles a list of digital barriers that organizations should consider when communicating their programs to clients.

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  • Type of Item
    Research Material
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  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International