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Title: The unexplored journey to homelessness : the social factors that may contribute to adult homelessness in Malta
Authors: Mifsud, Melissa (2009)
Keywords: Homelessness -- Malta
Homeless persons
Issue Date: 2009
Abstract: This qualitative study aims to identify the social factors that contribute to adult homelessness in Malta. This study seeks to portray the reality of homelessness in our small closely-knit communities by identifying the conditions and needs of homeless persons in Malta. Resources and literature related to Maltese homelessness are limited; therefore this study is a contribution towards an increase in awareness regarding this social issue. Additionally, this study looks at the services available for homeless people in Malta and also explores the possibility of new services that may be beneficial in our communities. The data was collected through six in-depth unstructured interviews with homeless participants living in shelters for homeless persons. The sample population was identified through the snowball sampling technique. The first resources to be tapped were the three shelters for the homeless in Malta. These shelters are Dar Patri Leopoldo of Gżira and Dar Tereża Spinelli of Valletta from Fundazzjoni Suret il-Bniedem; and Dar Niki Cassar from the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) which is also situated in Valletta. Further data was also collected from three professionals working in these shelters in order to get an additional perspective of homelessness in Malta. The findings of this study identify the social factors that contribute to homelessness in Malta. These social factors are; marital problems, dysfunctional family relationships, missing or broken social networks, unemployment, debts, addictive behaviours, psychiatric problems of the x homeless person or of a member in their family, and past imprisonment. The lack of affordable housing and limited access to secure housing are also significant contributing factors to homelessness in Malta. The results of this study demonstrate that the identification of these social factors is only the first step in addressing the problem of homelessness. Further in-depth research should be carried out regarding the relationship that every one of these social factors, which emerged from this study, have in relation to homelessness. The findings of this study also suggest that further attention should be given to the effects that family breakdown is having on our society. This study shows that broken families fail to provide a certain degree of support to its members, thus resulting in instability and homelessness. Homeless participants in this study demanded further support regarding the issue of housing. Through a discussion of the problem related to housing, a suggestion that emerged from this study is that more communication should take place between those who work with the homeless people and the authorities dealing with housing. Another recommendation that emerged from this study states that social workers should be able to contribute in the development and improvement of social policy regarding homelessness in Malta. By using the experiences acquired from the direct contact with homeless individuals, social workers xi should contribute in the making up of new policies and the setting up of services that can bring further improvement and development in the field of homelessness.
Description: B.A.(HONS)SOC.WORK
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacSoWSPSW - 2009

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