MacDonald, S.-A. et Côté, P.-B. (2021). Navigating and negotiating health and social services in the context of homelessness: Resistance and resilience. International Journal on Homelessness, 2(1), 1-14.
In this article, we draw upon a case study exploring social inequality and homelessness in homeless-oriented services in a large health and social services centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. We take up professionals’ (working in homelessness services) and service users’ (people experiencing homelessness) (N=12) perspectives exploring slippery notions of empowerment/disempowerment using a stigma, resistance, and resilience lens. We mobilize the concepts of navigation and negotiation to better understand participants’ experiences of stigma and the dialogical tensions in empowerment/disempowerment constructs moving beyond simple worker/service user dichotomies of powerful/powerlessness. We explore the more nuanced ways professionals and people who experience homelessness (often described in passive terms) understand these tensions and the dynamics at play within professional relationships, systems, and structural constraints. We unpack professionals’ “silent practices” in their effort to “empower” service users and resist institutional forged by neoliberal pressures. We make the case that systemic and structural constraints manifested in institutional practices push people experiencing homelessness to adopt strategies of resilience.