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This is just temporary: A study of extended-stay motel residents in Central Florida

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Date Issued:
2012
Abstract/Description:
Motel life has existed in the United States for over 100 years. However, it was not until the HEARTH Act in 2009 changed the federal definition of homelessness that those who live in motels more or less permanently were considered homeless persons. This project utilizes qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 18 families with children who are living in motels to explore their experiences with motel life and social service providers, their housing identity, and identity management strategies. Interviews with social service providers were also conducted for context and to gain their perspective on families living in motels. Findings show that most of the motel residents did not identify with the conventional definition or image of homelessness and instead negotiated the term to fit their situation. Although they did not initially self-identify as homeless, when discussing policy recommendations all participants adopted a homeless social-identity (i.e., they identified as members of the homeless social category). As members of the homeless community, the participants agreed that homeless families in the area needed more attention and assistance. The identity management strategies employed by the participants were meant to show how they were good people who were just stuck in a motel because of circumstances outside of their control and how they were deserving of assistance to help their families move out of the motel and obtain adequate, permanent housing. Interviews with the social service providers showed that they often do exercise their power over clients by classifying them into a "deserving" group or a "not willing to work for it" group based on their own experiences and prejudices.
Title: This is just temporary: A study of extended-stay motel residents in Central Florida.
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Name(s): Gonzalez Guittar, Stephanie, Author
Wright, James, Committee Chair
Carter, Shannon, Committee Member
Jasinski, Jana, Committee Member
Frumkin, Michael, Committee Member
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2012
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Motel life has existed in the United States for over 100 years. However, it was not until the HEARTH Act in 2009 changed the federal definition of homelessness that those who live in motels more or less permanently were considered homeless persons. This project utilizes qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 18 families with children who are living in motels to explore their experiences with motel life and social service providers, their housing identity, and identity management strategies. Interviews with social service providers were also conducted for context and to gain their perspective on families living in motels. Findings show that most of the motel residents did not identify with the conventional definition or image of homelessness and instead negotiated the term to fit their situation. Although they did not initially self-identify as homeless, when discussing policy recommendations all participants adopted a homeless social-identity (i.e., they identified as members of the homeless social category). As members of the homeless community, the participants agreed that homeless families in the area needed more attention and assistance. The identity management strategies employed by the participants were meant to show how they were good people who were just stuck in a motel because of circumstances outside of their control and how they were deserving of assistance to help their families move out of the motel and obtain adequate, permanent housing. Interviews with the social service providers showed that they often do exercise their power over clients by classifying them into a "deserving" group or a "not willing to work for it" group based on their own experiences and prejudices.
Identifier: CFE0004540 (IID), ucf:49241 (fedora)
Note(s): 2012-12-01
Ph.D.
Sciences, Sociology
Doctoral
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): extended stay motel residents -- homelessness -- poverty -- self-identity -- social identity -- social service providers
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0004540
Restrictions on Access: public 2012-12-15
Host Institution: UCF

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