You get forced to live with randoms ... and that makes you stronger as a person'. Homeless Western Australian teenagers' perspectives on their experiences of residing in crisis accommodation
College of Community Psychologists, Australian Psychological Society
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science/Lifespan Resilience Research Group
Homelessness is a growing, but poorly understood, social phenomenon. It is hypothesised that the fulfilment of homeless teenagers’ psychosocial needs supports normative development and facilitates mental well-being. This exemplar phenomenological study investigated the crisis accommodation living experiences of eight homeless teenagers aged 16 to 19 years and interpreted these experiences in relation to Maslow’s hierarchy of human need. The findings reveal that homeless teenagers achieve a measure of resilience by overcoming their safety fears and subsequently establishing a sense of belonging within the homeless community. Finally, the teenagers’ ability, under difficult circumstances, to establish an identity, individuality, and integrity seemingly provided them with sufficient internal fortitude that they were then able to set and achieve their personal goals.