Solidarity and Connection: Manifestations of Social Capital Among Consumers of Supportive Housing

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal / Book Title

Journal of Progressive Human Services


Supportive housing provides free/reduced-rent and regular access to helping professionals for consumers experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness. While extant research has explored aspects of consumer social networks, less research has explored consumer social networks derived through the actual housing experience. Through focus groups and in-depth interviews with 34 consumers of a robust housing program, this study attempted to answer the question, “What are the lived, relational experiences of supportive housing consumers, as derived through supportive housing itself?” Directed content analysis and three domains of social capital (bonding, linking, and bridging) helped identify seven emergent themes (idyllic communities, mutual support, communities of circumstance, generalized distrust, independence, empowerment, and volunteerism). Implications include the following: (1) the need for policymakers to invest more resources into homelessness prevention for populations like foster care alumni and adults with serious mental illness, (2) the need for practitioners to respect supportive housing spaces and the roles that consumers play for each other, and (3) the need for future research to explore the long-term tangible and intangible outcomes of supportive housing.



Published Citation

Forenza, B., Reilly, L., & Bergeson, C. (2019). Solidarity and connection: manifestations of social capital among consumers of supportive housing. Journal of Progressive Human Services, 30(3), 169-182.