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The contribution of qualitative methods to understanding a complex housing intervention for adults experiencing homelessness and mental illness

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This paper documents the contribution of qualitative methods to a multi-site randomized controlled trial – the At Home project. The objectives of the Vancouver At Home project are to examine the housing and support needs of people experiencing homelessness and mental illness and, based on these needs, facilitate the development of effective and efficient policies and services. This paper examines a subset of the qualitative component, focusing on a preliminary analysis of eight baseline personal narrative interviews. These partial interviews (High, Low and Turning Points) were coded for redemptive experiences, contamination scenes and dominant themes. Three of eight participants discussed redemptive experiences and three participants contaminated scenes that were initially positive. These findings, as well as the broader contribution of qualitative research to a randomized controlled trial, are discussed within a social justice framework and illustrate the necessity of utilizing multiple methods to maximize the validity of the resultant policy recommendations.
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