Title

Tiny Homes for Adults with Mental Illness: Using Place to Foster Social Participation and Community Integration

1

Location

Armory Room

Start Time

30-9-2016 8:30 AM

End Time

30-9-2016 10:00 AM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Purpose: In the United States, there is a lack of safe and affordable housing for individuals with mental illness. Consequently, on any given night, approximately 200,000 people with mental illness are homeless (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2011). The absence of stable housing contributes to social isolation and is barrier to occupational participation and community integration. The purpose of this community-based research is to develop an affordable housing option for adults with mental illness that fosters functional independence and community participation.

Methods: In a collaborative partnership with Habitat for Humanity, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health, and UNC-Chapel Hiil's School of Social Work, we have designed a 2-phased project to develop a community of Tiny Homes for adults with mental illness. In Phase 1 we will use interviews and focus groups with consumers and stakeholders to (1) test the feasibility and acceptability of this intervention and (2) explore the lived experience of residing in an adapted Tiny Home for 20 adults with mental illness. We will also develop and test an assessment battery to measure outcomes in quality of life, community participation, recovery, and physical and mental health. We will use findings from this phase to inform the development of a community of 5 adapted Tiny Homes in Phase 2. During Phase 2 we will also measure the impact of living in an adapted community of Tiny Homes on consumers’ social participation, sense of belonging, and community integration.

Results: This funded community-based intervention study is in its initial stages. The Tiny Home for Phase 1 is under construction and the research team is finalizing its methods for data collection and analysis. The project will generate an intervention protocol (‘How to Guide’) for building Tiny Home Communities for vulnerable populations. The protocol will include a multidimensional assessment for consumer-centered adaptations, consumer/stakeholder feedback loops integrated within ongoing operations, and an outcome assessment battery. We anticipate that the Tiny Home community will scaffold consumers’ participation in the broader community and will yield improvement in the above-mentioned outcomes.

Implications: This project will contribute to understandings of the impact of space and place on social participation, belonging, and wellbeing. The project will also demonstrate how occupational scientists can harness their knowledge base to develop and implement broad community-based interventions that support the occupational participation of marginalized and vulnerable populations.

Key words: Mental health, housing, community integration

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does the creation of intentional public spaces within communities foster social participation, belonging, and community integration?
  2. How can building small communities through shared occupational participation facilitate integration into broader communities?
  3. How can occupational scientists establish authentic collaborative partnerships with other disciplines and community entities to develop broad community-based interventions?

References

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Community Planning and Development. (2011). The 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. Retrieved from https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/2010HomelessAssessmentReport.pdf

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Sep 30th, 8:30 AM Sep 30th, 10:00 AM

Tiny Homes for Adults with Mental Illness: Using Place to Foster Social Participation and Community Integration

Armory Room

Purpose: In the United States, there is a lack of safe and affordable housing for individuals with mental illness. Consequently, on any given night, approximately 200,000 people with mental illness are homeless (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2011). The absence of stable housing contributes to social isolation and is barrier to occupational participation and community integration. The purpose of this community-based research is to develop an affordable housing option for adults with mental illness that fosters functional independence and community participation.

Methods: In a collaborative partnership with Habitat for Humanity, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health, and UNC-Chapel Hiil's School of Social Work, we have designed a 2-phased project to develop a community of Tiny Homes for adults with mental illness. In Phase 1 we will use interviews and focus groups with consumers and stakeholders to (1) test the feasibility and acceptability of this intervention and (2) explore the lived experience of residing in an adapted Tiny Home for 20 adults with mental illness. We will also develop and test an assessment battery to measure outcomes in quality of life, community participation, recovery, and physical and mental health. We will use findings from this phase to inform the development of a community of 5 adapted Tiny Homes in Phase 2. During Phase 2 we will also measure the impact of living in an adapted community of Tiny Homes on consumers’ social participation, sense of belonging, and community integration.

Results: This funded community-based intervention study is in its initial stages. The Tiny Home for Phase 1 is under construction and the research team is finalizing its methods for data collection and analysis. The project will generate an intervention protocol (‘How to Guide’) for building Tiny Home Communities for vulnerable populations. The protocol will include a multidimensional assessment for consumer-centered adaptations, consumer/stakeholder feedback loops integrated within ongoing operations, and an outcome assessment battery. We anticipate that the Tiny Home community will scaffold consumers’ participation in the broader community and will yield improvement in the above-mentioned outcomes.

Implications: This project will contribute to understandings of the impact of space and place on social participation, belonging, and wellbeing. The project will also demonstrate how occupational scientists can harness their knowledge base to develop and implement broad community-based interventions that support the occupational participation of marginalized and vulnerable populations.

Key words: Mental health, housing, community integration

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does the creation of intentional public spaces within communities foster social participation, belonging, and community integration?
  2. How can building small communities through shared occupational participation facilitate integration into broader communities?
  3. How can occupational scientists establish authentic collaborative partnerships with other disciplines and community entities to develop broad community-based interventions?