REALSYT Collaborative Works to End Youth Homelessness

“The best work happens in collaboration, not  in a vacuum.” The origin of this quote is unknown, but it’s more than likely somewhere outside of academia. Researchers and academics, for better or worse, can often feel isolated, covertly competitive, and disconnected. This has contributed to disconnected community-based researchers that are reliant on small samples collected in single localities, limiting the ability to draw connections to a broader experience. In 2016, in spite of these traditional approaches, seven researchers came together in collaboration to overcome inherent challenges in the world of research. All with the shared goal of ending youth homelessness.

The Research, Education, and Advocacy Co-Lab for Youth Stability and Thriving, or REALYST, is a national collaborative of academic and community partners that uses research to inform innovative policies, programs, and services aimed at ending homelessness and housing instability among young people. REALYST members are interdisciplinary, representing a variety of fields and research areas. Some members focus on sexual health, while others examine social media use and opportunities for innovative service outreach. The co-lab holds monthly meetings where members can seek consultation from colleagues and use feedback to build their programs of research. REALYST researchers co-author peer-reviewed papers, using data from the Homeless Youth Risk and Resilience Survey (HYRRS), which to date has surveyed 1,426 young persons experiencing homelessness and housing instability across seven cities. Initial publications include an exploration of sexual health knowledge and access to HIV-prevention medication, service experiences of LGBTQ individuals, and prescription drug misuse. Learn more about the HYRRS here.

REALYST is committed to overcoming another common research challenge – making findings accessible to support service providers and policy makers invested in making evidence-informed decisions. Relationships between researchers and practitioners are integral to REALYST’s approach to advocacy and change. Community agencies assist with the collection of data, and researchers are committed to sharing findings with their community partners. A team of REALYST graduate students works to disseminate findings from recent publications via briefs, blog posts, and social media in order to inform policy makers and service providers, change public perception, and educate young people facing housing instability. In doing so, REALYST contributes to the Grand Challenge of Ending Homelessness by intentionally bridging the gap between research and practice to prevent and eliminate youth and young adult homelessness.

Together, researchers, practitioners, and advocacy groups discuss the data and its implications, brainstorming new approaches to service delivery and new research questions.

Interested in learning more or partnering with REALYST? Contact them here.

The REALYST team includes researchers and graduate students from multiple partners of the National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services. This post was written by Jonah DeChants and Robin Petering.

JonahJonah DeChants is a doctoral candidate at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW). He uses community-based research methods to study the experiences of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness, particularly those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ).

 

robinRobin Petering, PhD is interested in improving the lives of young people who experience homelessness through community-inclusive research, policy advocacy, and program implementation. Her research agenda includes reducing violence through innovative intervention approaches.

Advertisements

Research Round-Up: Recent Publications from National Center Partner School Faculty

We feature a lot of our partner schools’ community-based collaborations and service learning activities on this blog, but our faculty contacts are also leading homelessness scholars. This blog post features just 10 of the peer-reviewed journal articles published in 2018 by homelessness researchers at our partner schools. These publications cover a range of topics related to homeless youth and adults, permanent supportive housing, and homeless service provision. Consider adding one of these to your course syllabi this semester. And, if you’re looking for additional readings, check out our curriculum resource page.

  1. Aykanian, A. (2018). Service and policy considerations when working with highly mobile homeless youth: Perspectives from the frontlinesChildren and Youth Services Review, 84, 9-16. Read more here.
  2. Bender, K., Begun, S., Dunn, K., Mackay, E., & Dechants, J. (2018). Homeless youths’ interests in social action via photovoice. Journal of Community Practice, 26(1), 107-120. Read more here.
  3. Crutchfield, R. (2018). Under a temporary roof and in the classroom: Service agencies for youth who are homeless while enrolled in community college. Child and Youth Services. Read more here.
  4. Henwood, B., Lahey, J., Harris, T., Rhoades, H., & Wenzel, S. (2018). Understanding risk environments in permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless adults. Qualitative Health Research. Read more here.
  5. Lee, W., & Plitt Donaldson, L. (2018). Street outreach workers’ understanding and experience of working with chronically homeless populations. Journal of Poverty. Read more here.
  6. Piat, M., Sabetti, J., & Padgett, D. (2018). Supported housing for adults with psychiatric disabilities: How tenants confront the problem of loneliness. Health and Social Care in the Community, 26(2), 191-198. Read more here.
  7. Narendorf, S. C., Bowen, E., Santa Maria, D., & Thibaudeau, E. (2018). Risk and resilience among young adults experiencing homelessness: A typology for service planning. Children and Youth Services Review, 86, 157-165. Read more here.
  8. Rhoades, H., La Motte-Kerr, W., Duan, L., Woo, D., Rice, E., Henwood, B., Harris, T., & Wenzel, S. (2018). Social networks and substance use after transitioning into permanent supportive housingDrug and Alcohol Dependence, 191(1), 63-69. Read more here.
  9. Tiderington, E. (2018). “The apartment is for you, it’s not for anyone else”: Managing social recovery and risk on the frontlines of single-adult supportive housingAdministration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 45(1), 152-162. Read more here.
  10. Wagamann, M. A., Shelton, J., & Carter, R. (2018). Queering the social work classroom: Strategies for increasing the inclusion of LGBTQ persons and experiences. Journal of Teaching Social Work, 38(2), 166-182. Read more here.

While peer-reviewed articles are typically not publicly available, you can obtain full-text copies of any article by contacting the author(s).