Oral Presentations - Session 1B: UC 327


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Friday, April 13th
9:00 AM

The Poverello Center’s Homeless Outreach Team: Looking Between the Cracks

Christopher Cadotte
Maria Newbold
Allyson Talaska

UC 327

9:00 AM - 9:20 AM

The Poverello Center provides important services such as emergency shelter, food and clothing to people experiencing homelessness. Yet many people fall between the cracks and are resistant or unable to use the shelter leaving them resigned to life on the streets. The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), composed of several staff and volunteers, extends the Poverello’s services to people experiencing homelessness on the streets and providing businesses with nonemergency mediation in lieu of police intervention. Using ethnographic field notes describing 60 hours of volunteer service, we analyze how HOT fills an important gap in services for the homeless and business communities of downtown Missoula. Our findings include reasons some people are resistant or unable to use the shelter, the needs of people experiencing street homelessness, and how HOT can be an effective mediator for downtown businesses.

9:20 AM

Children: Products of Their Environments?

Emily Peters
Sammy Schreiner

UC 327

9:20 AM - 9:40 AM

The Joseph Residence is a transitional housing facility for families experiencing homelessness that provides a safe and nurturing community. In this environment, staff helps parents create a better future for themselves and their families. The energy put towards improving their current situation affects the lives of their children on a daily basis. Using ethnographic field notes on 60 hours of participant observation, we will explore how parents at the Joseph Residence try to counteract past decisions that have influenced their family in a negative way. We predict that the staff’s role will positively influence the lives of each family.

9:40 AM

Advancing Amidst Adversity: Missoula Homeless Shelters as High Reliability Organizations

Meghan Eckert

UC 327

9:40 AM - 10:00 AM

Non-profit organizations face uncertainty in various aspects of their work; this is particularly true for homeless shelters. However, despite adversity, I have found that one homeless shelter in Missoula is able to maintain stability because of particular organizational elements. This paper will analyze infrastructural components of the Poverello Center in Missoula based on the principles of a High Reliability Organization (Weick and Sutcliffe 2007), principles which include: organizational commitment to resiliency, sensitivity to operations, deference to expertise, a reluctance to simplify, and a preoccupation with failure. I will use a qualitative analysis that explores emergent themes and provides evidence based claims from ethnographic field notes. In utilizing an HRO framework to consider links between HRO principles and the infrastructural activities that occur within the Poverello Center, I will examine and learn much of what it is that makes the Poverello Center resilient in the face of adversity.

10:00 AM

Relationship Development at the Poverello

Elise Cunningham

UC 327

10:00 AM - 10:20 AM

Many people who use the services of the Poverello find service beyond the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter. They often develop a relationship with someone at the Poverello that will listen to their story and make them feel heard. This paper will explore why clients can develop these relationships at the Poverello. Our data will draw upon ethnographic fieldnotes written about 100 hours of participant observation at the Poverello Center. From this data we expect to find that due to the Poverello's availability, clients are able to access individuals when the client is ready to talk. This allows the client some control that they may not otherwise have in their life.

10:20 AM

Conversations with the Homeless in Missoula: What People Experiencing Homelessness Want to Share

Paige Ely, University of Montana - Missoula
Dustin Satterfield

UC 327

10:20 AM - 10:40 AM

Many people using services at the Poverello enjoy sharing about their life. They tend to discuss their relationships with family and friends in particular. From our observations, clients using only day services at the Poverello have stronger relationships than those residing at the Poverello. The residents of the Poverello have varying degrees of their relationships. Some have no relationships, some develop relationships while there, some have cut off their relationships, and some rekindle past relationships. Using ethnographic fieldnotes of 70 hours of observation, we have found that having a relationship, especially a strong one, may be a gateway to moving out of the Poverello and out of homelessness.