Purpose of Study
The research topic is “Investigating the scope and effectiveness of services for homeless veterans.” This study explores programs and services offered by different agencies in Houston, Texas area. The motivation to carry out this study is that veterans who return from missions abroad face numerous challenges. One of them is their inability to secure homes for living their lives because of mental and physical health issues and recidivism.
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Data Collection Process
The study involved the gathering of views of employees working in three different agencies, including
- Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center,
- Salvation Army Greater Houston Common, and
- Career and Recovery Resources, Inc.
These agencies have different programs and services that are aimed at helping homeless veterans to find accommodation. They have an essential role in assisting veterans who are facing issues and need help.
The participants of the interview are selected using the purposive sampling technique. Each agency was formally requested to assign representatives who would be willing to participate in the interview process. Before interviews were conducted, informed consent forms were duly signed and collected. In this study, a semi-structured interview was used, which included ten questions. Each question was drafted to address different aspects of social services provided by agencies to homeless veterans. Furthermore, some questions collected information about participants.
It is indicated that the three social services organizations assigned their employees to take part in the interview process. In total, five individuals participated in the study. Two employees from Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and Salvation Army Greater Houston Common took part in the study. On the other hand, only one employee of Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. participated in the interview process.
Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
Ms. Shelby Lawrence, Program Manager
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Mr. Andrew Williams, Program Manager
Salvation Army Greater Houston Common
Ms. Isabella Juan, Senior Social Worker
Ms. Camilla Jose, Senior Social Worker, Health Care
Career and Recovery Resources, Inc.
Mr. Martin Hughes, Program Coordinator
The study participants are experienced employees who are presently working in senior positions in the three selected organizations. Therefore, it could be stated that the findings of the current study are reliable for concluding the role of social work agencies and services in helping homeless veterans.
What are some of the most gratifying aspects of your job?
All participants were of the view that helping veterans who have sacrificed their happiness for national interests and security is the most gratifying aspect of their job. They see thousands of veterans struggling in their lives, and they need help from others to get their life back on track. It is important to serve them so that their dignity is not hurt. Mr. Williams stated that it is his lifetime achievement to help veterans who struggle to overcome their mental and physical problems and find suitable living accommodations.
What are some of the most pressing issues with providing services to homeless veterans?
Interviewees were of the view that homeless veterans are difficult to manage because they have social, psychological, and substance abuse issues. Every individual needs attention and care depending on their problems. This makes the job challenging and requires a lot of effort and time to gain veterans’ confidence to help them most effectively.
How long have you been employed at the agency?
Ms. Shelby Lawrence = 5 years
Mr. Andrew Williams = 6.5 years
Ms. Isabella Juan = 6 years
Ms. Camilla Jose = 4.5 years
Mr. Martin Hughes = 7 years
What is your educational and professional background?
Ms. Shelby Lawrence = Bachelors, work experience of more than 7 years at different agencies.
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Mr. Andrew Williams = College worked as an independent service provider for 4 years.
Ms. Isabella Juan = Bachelors, work experience of more than 10 years at different agencies.
Ms. Camilla Jose = College, work experience of more than 5 years at different agencies.
Mr. Martin Hughes = Bachelors, work experience of more than 7 years at the same agency.
All interviewees have a strong professional background and experience of many years in assisting veterans and those who need help.
What are the most significant challenges for homeless veterans?
Homeless veterans suffer a lot because of their behavioral, psychological, and physical issues. It is also reported that they also have high vulnerability to chronic and acute disease, violent victimization, and drug and alcohol abuse. Furthermore, homeless veterans also get into trouble by getting involved in criminal activities.
What are some of the strengths of homeless veterans?
Homeless veterans have a strong character. They are willing to lead a normal life by getting help. They seek trustable relationships and contribute positively to the peer programs of the agency. Furthermore, families of homeless veterans play an important role in their lives.
Your agency provides health care/housing/counseling services to homeless veterans. What are the additional services homeless veterans need?
Agencies help homeless veterans to find work. They also provide faith-based services to veterans according to their religion and belief.
How do you assess the effectiveness of service programs?
Different benchmarks are used for assessing the effectiveness of service programs, which are listed on this slide.
I expected to learn a lot from the research experience. I prepared extensively by reviewing existing studies and their methodologies. This helped me get a good grasp of ideas and concepts relevant to the phenomenon to carry out extensive research. I learned about different data collection techniques and assessed their merits and demerits. I decided to conduct interviews with participants because I believed this technique is useful for collecting first-hand information. However, it was expected to be time-consuming and difficult to implement. This is the reason that only five interviews were conducted. I believe that the sample size could be increased, and a survey questionnaire could be used to conduct future quantitative research.
My learning has been significant as I have learned about research approaches, methodologies, and techniques useful for conducting primary research. I have also learned about the issues that could affect the research outcome. The insights gained from the study are useful to understand the issues homeless veterans face. Social workers and agencies have a crucial role in helping such individuals find suitable opportunities to overcome their problems and live everyday lives. The findings of this study are useful for veterans as well as they could seek help from agencies.
Magnusson, E., & Marecek, J. (2015). Doing interview-based qualitative research. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.