Monday, March 5, 2012

The Beginning of the End

Hi Friends, it has been a month since I last blogged and I apologize for that, the truth is that when I can make time to write I am working on the report of my findings. Basically just summing up what I have learned about the shelter system and services to the homeless across Canada. I’m thinking I’ll share it with you as I go along… hope you find it interesting. Today I will include the prologue and methodology section, pretty boring stuff but necessary to understanding the rest of the paper. Next time we will get into the observations. Please understand the paper is divided into sections Observations followed by Conclusions which is followed by Recommendation. What will appear are just observations… there is no judgment being made here; so don’t get all huffy and defensive on me. Nobody on the planet has more respect and appreciation for the hard work, dedication and commitment of people working in the shelter industry, than I do.

A REPORT of FINDING for Angels of the Road
Two years of living with Canada’s Homeless
         Initially it was my intention to present these findings to you as a formal research paper, however I find myself uncomfortable using that format. I will submit this report written in the first person because I lived it in the first person, and I funded it in the first person.  My only responsibility here is to the truth, good or bad.
         I will not waste valuable space listing my credentials; for more information than you could possibly want to know about me, please go to my website  and click the ABOUT tab. You will find my resume, biography, philosophy and a brief synopsis of “the journey” (as I like to call it).
        This study is meant as a qualitative analysis of program delivery to homeless and indigent population. No hard statistics have been kept… those are available through any number of government departments and stakeholder organizations. The study makes no mention of individual facilities, unless they stand as a strong example of success (or failure) for other agencies to use as learning models. No single agency has it all wrong or all right, with the possible exception of Centre 454 in Ottawa which is doing stellar work in all areas of drop-in services.
         In no way should this document be taken as an indictment of the shelter industry. Almost everything I experienced indicates good people doing the best they can with the limited resources and information which was available. It is my sincerest hope that the shelter industry, social planners, and researchers in this field will use these finding to guide the evolution of service delivery to Canada’s homeless. Resulting in shorter shelter stays with improved recovery and reintegration for all client populations.

The content of this document and the Angels of the Road website/blog site is copywrited to the author / researcher Bonny L. Cameron (me) and must be credited accordingly in any reproduction or distribution of these documents in whole or in part. The free (and wide) distribution of these copywrited materials is encouraged; however if anyone profits (financially) from the use of same, an appropriate compensation to the author can be made by donation at the website.
An Examination of the Shelter Industry in Canada 
& the Efficacy of Program Delivery
 as It Impacts Client Outcomes.
(working title)
          This observer/participant study involved almost two years of information gathering which was done from May 2009 – October 2011 (
less 4 vacations of approximately 1 month) . The study took place in 15 cities throughout Canada, except (due to accessibility and funding issues) the far north. Over that period of time I lived in 12 shelters with capacities ranging from 8 – 300 occupants. Attended programs offered to the homeless through 15 drop-in centres and accessed 24 meal programs.
          The study involved total immersion with the subject population. Stays varied from 3 weeks to 4 months depending on the size of the homeless population with whom I was assimilating.

Constant for this project was the use of a single researcher, me
Variables were basically everything else; size of facility/ population/ protocols/ staffing/ orientation (secular or religious)/ provincial government priorities/ funding sources/ etc. etc. etc.
Anyone wishing to verify my results can do so by simply repeating this process for themselves.

           I presented myself as a middle-aged woman, between jobs, without ties to the city, checking into the potential job market and looking for a new place to settle down (all of which was quite true).           
It is human nature to modify our behaviour when we are being observed; so to prevent contamination of the study, the subject staffers and clients were not informed of the my full purpose until the end stages of each stay. I lived with and among the client population for up to 4 months at a time with 4 visits home to Calgary of 4-5 weeks between each leg of the journey dubbed Angels of the Road. This immersion process allowed me to get unvarnished feedback from clients. Further I was able to observe client to client, staff to client and management to staff interactions on an ongoing basis revealing patterns of interconnectedness between these. 
Ok Guys that is today's installment, I promise others will be shorter... if you have visited the website lately you may have noticed that I removed the guest page... my overnight hit count jump to 55 so I suspect that someone had place a link to porn on the page. Counts are now back to normal 15 overnights and 40ish per diam. I have no problem with what consenting adults choose to do in their spare time but that is not what Angels of the Road is about, Thanks for understanding...Have a joyous day.   

1 comment:

  1. Oh Bonnie! I am so happy to find your blog today. I'm adding you to my blog roll so I always know when you're updating. I am enthralled with learning more about your findings...

    I love your attitude -- we create the suffering in our lives. Yup. :)