Dr. Kristy Buccieri, assistant professor of Sociology, and her team of undergraduate researchers are putting knowledge into action, evaluating the Housing First program in the City of Kawartha Lakes to ensure that members of society experiencing homelessness are receiving the unique, personalized care they desperately need.
“Students are attracted to this project for a number of reasons,” says Professor Buccieri. “They want to learn about the factors that contribute to homelessness. They are interested in social justice issues within their community, and they value the opportunity to be employed on a project that challenges them to incorporate and build upon their education.”
Launched in partnership with the City of Kawartha Lakes, Four Counties Addiction Services Team and A Place Called Home, the Housing First program aligns stable housing with supports that meet the unique needs of homeless individuals. Funded through the federal Homelessness Partnering Strategy, the project seeks sustainable local and national solutions.
Experience is Key
This year, Prof Buccieri recruited Trent undergraduates Kristen Taylor of the Social Work program and Melanie Lusted, a student joint-majoring in Sociology and Gender & Women’s Studies, for the project.
“Experiential learning is a foundational tenet of education at Trent University. This project gives students the opportunity to learn research skills, such as statistical analysis, interviewing, and coding, while contributing to a federally-funded project that will inform the development of social policy through reporting to local and national stakeholders,” says Prof. Buccieri.
A globally-recognized researcher and author of Pandemic Preparedness and Homelessness, Prof. Buccieri believes conducting research is a highly beneficial experience for her students to draw upon, as they enter the labour force.
“Engaging in research of this nature prepares students to think critically and analytically about social issues, which are skills they will return to throughout their careers.”
Commitment and Resources
“Trent University has been exceptionally committed to supporting research and teaching initiatives that address homelessness in our local community,” said Prof. Buccieri. “Homelessness is an issue across Canada and members of the Trent University community have given their time and resources to making a difference.”
This year faculty, students, and community members met for the first meeting of the Trent University Homelessness Research Network. The department of Sociology began offering “Sociological Perspectives on Homelessness” in 2016.