Centre for Applied Research on Social Sciences and Law

Understanding how engagement in a self-managed shelter contributes to empowerment


Participant empowerment is a foundational goal of selforganised<br/>homeless care. We aim to understand how a selforganised<br/>setting contributes to participants' empowerment.<br/>The data we analysed (56 interviews, both open and semistructured)<br/>were generated in a longitudinal participatory<br/>case study into Je Eigen Stek (Your own place, JES), a lowcost<br/>shelter for people experiencing homelessness in the<br/>Netherlands. JES participants experienced the freedom of<br/>choice and influence on their living environment. JES' fluid<br/>structure allowed participants to adapt the program to their<br/>desires and needs, though participants were sometimes aspects to be either enabling or entrapping. We found some<br/>aspects (e.g., size, freedom of choice) could be entrapping or<br/>enabling, depending on personal factors. Our analysis revealed<br/>individual freedom of choice, balancing freedom of choice<br/>with support, offering opportunities for engagement and<br/>maintaining fluidity in program management as core aspects<br/>of how JES contributed to participants' empowerment.<br/>negative about having to live together. Most participants<br/>preferred JES over regular shelters. Unlike empowerment<br/>literature, participants mostly emphasised freedom of choice<br/>over capacity development. JES offered opportunities for<br/>social and organisational engagement, through which participants<br/>developed roles, skills and self-image. However, a<br/>limited number of participants developed leadership roles<br/>through self-management. Literature suggests setting

Reference Huber, M. A., Brown, L. D., Metze, R. N., Stam, M., Abma, T. A., van Regenmortel, T., & Abma, T. N. (2020). Understanding how engagement in a self-managed shelter contributes to empowerment. journal of applied community and social psychology , 30(5), 516-529. https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.2460
1 September 2020

Publication date

Sep 2020


Max A. Huber
Louis D. Brown
Rosalie N. Metze
Martin Stam
Tineke A Abma
Tine van Regenmortel
Tineke N. Abma


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