Empowerment and engagement: Case studies in Victoria, Australia of people who are homeless and volunteers who are working in services for the home-less.
By drawing on community development values and principles as well as a social constructivist theoretical perspective, this study aims to understand how people who are homeless and the volunteers who serve them perceive their roles in terms of empowerment and disempowerment. Twenty-nine individuals have participated in this study: 18 had personal experiences of homelessness and 11 volunteered in the homelessness sector.
This study collects data through informal in-depth interviews, and it thematically examines a research diary. Research outcomes suggest that volunteers feel elements of perceived and actual power in their volunteerism. The study argues that such power stems from a belief that volunteering benefits the volunteer, people experiencing homelessness and broader society. These findings are consistent with existing literature and popular discourse; however, my research discovers that volunteers also express guilt and a reluctance to self-identify as a volunteer. This reticence, which accompanies volunteers’ scrutiny of the role’s characterisation as superior, runs contrary to how scholarship and popular discourse often understand volunteers.
SOURCE: Zachary Greig. “Empowerment and engagement: Case studies in Victoria, Australia of people who are
homeless and volunteers who are working in services for the home-less.” Victoria University, 2020.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present
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