Nov. 15, 2019
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – The way many policy-makers understand chronic homelessness and its solutions could be preventing them from seeing effective, even obvious, solutions to the problem, argues Ronni Greenwood, a social-community psychologist who will deliver Wilfrid Laurier University’s 16th annual Hunsberger Lecture.
Her lecture, entitled “Structure and agency: An ecological understanding of the causes of and solutions to chronic homelessness,” will be presented by the Department of Psychology on Nov. 29.
“We are very excited to have Dr. Greenwood visit Laurier and present her solutions-focused research on housing and homelessness in Europe,” said Maritt Kirst, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. “She is also engaged in interesting work on public and policy-maker attitudes towards the issue of homelessness in the EU to support greater action.”
Greenwood was a leader in the foundational research of the Pathways Housing First program in New York — work that inspired the At Home/Chez Soi trial of Housing First in Canada, which led to the spread of the program nationally.
In her lecture, Greenwood, a lecturer at the University of Limerick in Ireland, will explore some of the different approaches taken around the world to address chronic homelessness. She’ll also present findings from research on the Housing First model, which has been implemented in cities around the world. The program is unique in that it prioritizes moving people into independent and permanent housing before providing additional supports and services. The findings of Greenwood’s research suggest that more emphasis should be placed on individual empowerment.
Greenwood has been researching recovery among adults with histories of homelessness and the role of social services on well-being and personal agency for more than a decade. Before moving to Ireland, she collaborated on a four-year study of an alternative streets-to-homes intervention for adults with histories of homelessness in New York City. She has worked as a consultant on the implementation of Housing First programs and regularly evaluates these programs at both local and national levels. She is also a co-investigator on the Homelessness as Unfairness project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program.
Laurier researchers, including Kirst and professor emeritus Geoffrey Nelson, have been involved in researching Housing First programs in Canada.
The Hunsberger Lecture will take place Nov. 29 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Science Building, room N1001. Admission is free and no registration is required.
This is the Department of Psychology's 16th annual Bruce Hunsberger Lecture. Professor Bruce Hunsberger was a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Laurier from 1974 to 2003 and served as the department chair for many years. He was an influential scholar in the field of the psychology of religion and a recipient of the William James Award from the American Psychological Association. The ongoing Hunsberger Lecture series was created to remember his lifelong commitment to communicating psychological research to a wide audience.
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