Social work

experience and methods

Experiences of men who are going through homelessness: cases of night shelters


Homelessness is a voluntary or involuntary way of life, that does not meet the behavior standards and values in the society and for which the society „punishes" by stigmatizing and discriminating people. People, who experience homelessness, have unbalanced relationships with their micro, mezzo and macro environment. These people are not only called „border people", but they are also pushed out of the society thus creating social isolation groups. Through social isolation process, various stereotypes and accusations are created, which complicate integration of the homeless people into the society and force them to behave in the way the attitudes are formed about them.

The aim of the research of homeless men social relations is to better understand the phenomenon of the research by revealing the social relations importance in person's life and also to see the possibilities how a social worker can help when working with homeless people. In order to reveal the experiences of homeless men's social relations, the strategy of qualitative research was chosen. Research participants were 11 men that live in Kaunas and Klaipėda night shelters and get temporary accommodation services.

Theme analysis as data analysis method was chosen. Theme analysis allows data identifying, analyzing and structuring.
The research data revealed that most of the men experienced breakdowns of social relations and contacts in their childhood. Lack of love, intimacy, attention, secure attachments, and death of one parent or parental absence led to disturbed relationships in their adult life. The research revealed that the night shelter residents find it difficult to discover the meaning of life and to start long-term relationships built on trust and mutual respect with the similar fate people. However, despite this, it was noticed that men have no discomfort in communicating with social workers or organizations that provide social services and help. The research showed that men who get temporary accommodation services have more possibilities to work. Though often working illegally, men face discrimination and manipulation by employers that cause mistrust and insecure feelings and stimulate homeless men to distance themselves from society.


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