Date of Conferral





Health Services


Virginia B. Salzer


Due to the deinstitutionalization movement, many mentally ill individuals have left asylum treatment centers and have had no safe housing. The purpose of this grounded theory study was to explore the attitudes and opinions of homeless, mentally ill people regarding the community resources they consume and how they perceive and navigate those resources. The research questions focused on homeless, mentally ill individuals' shared experiences accessing health care, psychiatric care, and housing services as well as, barriers that impacted homeless, mentally ill individuals' use of these services, and their needs to address these barriers. Data were collected using face to face, semi structured interviews with 12 homeless individuals. The thematic analysis consisted of open and axial coding. Axial coding was used to assign and like categories and subcategories of codes according to their properties and dimensions. Emergent patterns were identified from the data to explain the lived experiences of mentally ill homeless people and their opinion and attitudes towards navigating of mentally ill homeless programs. The responses expressed the needs that were unmet: lack of mental health assistance, food needs, hygiene needs, safety concerns and survival needs. In order to make positive social change outreach predicated on increasing clear communication between outreach workers and the homeless mentally ill allows for developing a trusting relationship necessary in establishing contact and credibility in providing on going impactful treatment for the homeless mentally ill population.