|dc.description.abstract||Globally, high rates of homelessness exist and continue to grow, despite interventions offered by
government and suggested by policy. Evidence suggests that long term intervention and
vocational skill development can facilitate an escape from homelessness and support the
transition of homeless persons into a worker role in the open labour market. Occupational
therapists advocate for occupational justice in the lives of all individuals and therefore have a
role to play in the intervention of the homeless who are experiencing disengagement in
occupation, leading to a poor sense of well-being.
The current study aims to describe and explore the experiences and perceptions of previously
homeless individuals who escaped homelessness by means of a vocational skill development
programme. The study explores the barriers and facilitators that the participants experienced in
their change process and how the programme facilitated their adaptation to their worker role in
the open labour market. A qualitative research design was employed to investigate the
experiences and perceptions of ten participants who were purposively sampled. In addition, two
occupational therapists were selected to participate as key informants. Written and informed
consent was obtained and ethical standards were maintained throughout the study.
The researcher collected data by recording semi-structured interviews, which were then
transcribed. The transcribed information was analysed by use of thematic analysis, sorting the
information into codes, categories and themes that emerged out of the findings. The themes
looked at barriers experienced by the participants, facilitators experienced by the participants,
motivational factors for engagement in the skill development programme and the usefulness of
an occupational therapist as part of the intervention team. These themes were discussed, using
the theory of Occupational Adaptation as well as the Trans-theoretical model of change. The
researcher attempts to answer the objectives of the study by discussing the findings and themes
that have emerged out of the data.
Analysis of the findings suggest that if homeless persons are provided with vocational skill
development, acceptance and support, mental health care and provision for sustenance needs,
they can transition and adapt to a role in the open labour market and consequently experience an
improvement in their sense of well-being. Occupational therapists are equipped to play an
important role in the intervention of homelessness. Recommendations of the research focus on
policy development, further research and intervention in homelessness. The researcher suggests
that occupational therapy’s role in homelessness should be clearly defined and articulated.
Research is also needed to prove the efficacy of long term development programmes as opposed
to short term employment or training opportunities that may not prove to be sustainable.||en_US