UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Home vs. "Hard to House" Goetz, Judith Teresa


The literature suggests that there is an existing mismatch between service providers that supply housing and the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized homeless population, the “hard to house”. This specific population faces complex problematic characteristics like substance use, physical and mental health concerns, particular behaviours (e.g. collecting, aggressiveness), visual appearance, lack of social skills, childhood trauma, working in the sex trade, and so on which leaves them in a constant state of absolute or relative homelessness. To gain a better understanding of their needs, the meaning and creation of home for this population is the focus of this research project. The two main research questions are: What is the meaning of home for those labelled "hard to house"? And how is it created? To answer these questions eight residents at a housing project within Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside have been interviewed, using a naturalistic qualitative research approach. Three emergent themes have been identified: 1) self care, 2) divided neighbourhood, and 3) young adulthood. The themes are discussed by applying Vaclav Havel’s definition of home and integrating Erving Goffman’s theory on interaction rituals, exclusively focusing on two essays “On Face Work” and “The Nature of Deference and Demeanor”.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International