Homeless Connect Reflection

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Community Service Learning: Homeless Connect 2018
Project Homeless Connect - Health and Wellness 2018 opened my eyes to an increasing epidemic in the United States. Homelessness is a social problem that can be challenging for health care providers (Nickasch & Marnocha, 2009). Homeless Connect was a civic engagement event, in which civic engagement is defined as a desire to work toward making a difference in the civic life of a community and to develop the combination of knowledge, skills, values, and motivation needed to make that difference (Maloney, Myers, & Bazyk, 2014). This event showed my classmates and me how to work with a population of individuals who have medical, as well as other needs, but may not have the resources to address
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These individuals ranged in all ages, ethnicities, and genders, from infants to older adults, and males, females, and transgender individuals. I had the opportunity to work with a 70 year old veteran, 56 year old woman with low income, and a homeless transgender couple under the age of 25. There were multiple subdivisions with booths set up in the Mobile Fair Grounds to address the different needs of these populations. The different sections that offered services included legal services, health and wellness, state ID’s, education providers, beauty and barbering services, employment providers, housing providers/veteran services, and supportive…show more content…
Being homeless can affect an individual’s ability and opportunities to participate in community and normal or desired occupational roles, such as work. As an occupational therapist, we can improve homeless individuals’ quality of life and mental health by giving them the opportunity to participate in meaningful occupations again (Thomas, Gray, & McGinty, 2011). The main areas that would greatly benefit from being addressed by occupational therapists would be employment, education, money management, coping skills, finding affordable housing, and developing leisure skills. Occupational therapists can work with this population on an individual basis or in a group setting to address different focuses, such as assertive communication, cognition, independent living skills, stress management, and wellness (Scaffa & Reitz 2014). After volunteering at events like Homeless Connect I learned I am helping this population receive occupational justice, hopefully giving them the means to participate in meaningful occupations. Occupational therapy practitioners can take on an advocate’s role in order to promote occupational justice and to empower clients ‘‘to seek and obtain resources to fully participate in their daily life occupations” (Maloney, Myers, & Bazyk, 2014). Another area that would be beneficial to know when working with this population are their thoughts on health care. Emerging roles in

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