Dissertation: Homelessness After the Storm_Exploring the Lives of African American Women and the Right to Affordable Housing
The purpose of this hybrid phenomenological-descriptive case study was to analyze disaster and recovery policies, specifically housing policies using Anderson’s model by first identifying and describing housing policies pre- and post-Katrina and how federal and state disaster policies on housing impeded local policies. Also this phenomenological-descriptive case study attempted to humanize and contextualize the stories of those made homeless by a disaster and individuals that remain homeless today bringing attention to this looming problem through policy changes, identify constraints on governmental assistance thus far. This study provided suggestions on how homelessness might be overcome in ways statistical analysis may provide, which often lacks a clear picture. In depth semi-structured interviews were analyzed to grasp an understanding of race, class, and gender implications on post-disaster housing policies. The social constructions of homelessness, its causes, its impact, and possible solutions, rarely include the voices and perspectives of those experiencing homelessness. By theorizing how homelessness functions at the intersection of African American women and female-headed families, poverty, and disaster recovery, this research contributes to the policy arena by fusing four scholarly literatures: theories about the right to housing, urban poverty, homeless African American women and female-headed families, and research on disasters. It also contributes as it theorizes the concept of recovery (neighborhoods, housing, employment, schools, and infrastructure) for a highly marginalized portion of the population in this country.
For the purposes of this study, a phenomenological-descriptive case study approach was primarily used as an attempt to understand empirical matters by capturing the voice of those individuals studied; a crucial step in ending homelessness.
1. What perceptions did the study’s participants have on the effectiveness of housing post-Katrina?
2. What major barriers did the African American women face in attaining affordable housing post-Katrina? What needs to change to help others?
3. How do African American women describe their lived experiences with homelessness?
4. What extent are the housing rights of disaster victims protected?
5. What role has the political and legislative institutions in New Orleans played in protecting the rights of disaster victims?
6. What are the issues or problems that may have exacerbated the recovery efforts post-Katrina?
7. How do the experiences and perceptions of the participants inform future disaster housing policies?
8. How can African American women, already mired in the challenges and disadvantages of chronic poverty recover from a disaster?
This qualitative study used a hybrid phenomenological-descriptive case study method to explore the lived experience of African American women from the experiences and perspectives of the research participants. The method of analysis chosen for this study was a qualitative hybrid phenomenological approach, incorporating both inductive and deductive thematic analysis techniques. The selected approach aligns with the study’s research questions by allowing the tenets of social phenomenology to become an integral part of the deductive thematic analysis while also using inductive reasoning, allowing themes to emerge directly from the raw data. The data analysis process included in this study used multiple stages in studying first- order constructs and second-order constructs.