Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Social Welfare


Daniel Herman

Committee Members

Harriet Goodman

Alexis Kuerbis

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work


Moving on, Supportive housing, Homelessness, Psychiatric disability, Ontological security, Home


Supportive housing is the main strategy assisting formerly homeless people to live in the least restrictive settings and as independently as possible. There has been a greater focus on efforts towards homelessness prevention and remedies to minimize the experience of homelessness, which have been further fueled by the demand for supportive housing and a drive for cost effectiveness. Meanwhile, there have been attempts to ensure that those living in supportive housing are only those who continue to need comprehensive long-term support to live independently in the community. To accomplish this, and in line with the Recovery Movement, programs assist people currently living in supportive housing, who are interested in and able to move out into independent apartments in the community. On the other hand, there have been minimal efforts to assist those who want to move on and no longer need comprehensive onsite support.

Utilizing data on 40 formerly homeless persons preparing to transition from supportive housing to independent housing, a narrative approach was used, guided by interpretive interactionism, to examine the factors that assist and discourage residents to move out of supportive housing. Results suggest that residents sought ontological security through secure benefits, autonomy, and comfort. While residents were unable to reach an optimal level of secure benefits, autonomy, and comfort in staying or moving, they experienced ambivalence in making their decisions and considered satisficing certain conditions while aiming to optimize others. Residents in recovery from mental illness and substance abuse identified a unique relationship with autonomy that was grounded in their recoveries and reinforced their supportive housing tenure. These findings suggest certain considerations for programs for supportive housing residents preparing to move on, specifically for those residents in recovery.

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Social Work Commons