Transformative Mobility and the Homeless; Perceptions and Actions as a Result of Using Storage Facilities


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Leadership Studies


The origin of a Hepatitis A outbreak in 2018 in San Diego was determined to have generated among the homeless population. Shopping carts overflowing with clothing, bedding, pet food, bicycle parts and other items were cited as a major component of the problem (Sisson, 2018). Possession of shopping carts were subsequently made illegal, and sidewalk cleaning was initiated until the epidemic was deemed under control. However, the items homeless individuals carried in their carts constituted the sum total of all they considered valuable. Outlawing shopping carts, therefore, did not necessarily result in a reduction of the contents of those carts, merely their redistribution into other means of transporting them. One recent solution was the creation of storage facilities where homeless individuals could secure their belongings, thereby removing those items from public spaces.

Being liberated from constant vigilance over their belongings creates mobility for homeless individuals that has the potential for physically and psychologically transformative experiences. This qualitative study involved interviews with staff and clients at the newly opened Storage Connect Center, to generate knowledge about what clients do with their mobility, how they perceive quality of life and how they imagine meaningful change. The insights they shared about life on the streets, their goals and motivations, and how they are affected by other people’s perceptions of them, are revealed in this case study.

Peattie 2019 Transformative Mobility and the Homeless.pdf (375 kB)
PAPER: Transformative Mobility and the Homeless

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