Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Mark W. Davis, Ph.D, MPA

Committee Member

Cheryl W. Neale-McFall, Ph.D

Committee Member

Michelle L. Wade, PhD


Two interventions which have been successful in housing and maintaining housing for individuals who have serious mental illness and are classified as chronically homeless are the Housing First Model and community integration. Currently existing models of community integration were created using dated information and definitions, created from a medical model and not a social framework. Therefore, this dissertation used a phenomenological approach to define community and whether, by that definition, the participants feel integrated into the community. This included the interviewees’ experiences with Pathways to Housing DC and transitioning from homeless to housings and the Housing First Model.

Outcomes from this study show…The ownership of choice in their apartments lead to overall positive feelings towards the process and an ongoing empowerment to succeed. Community was not characterized as their neighborhood or apartment building but as a collective social environment, which was true for all participants. By their own definition of community, participants felt an overwhelming sense of isolation and lack of friendships, but each felt an agency to be a positive force in helping those who are still homeless create social connections, including a focus on concrete plans to become agents of change in their lives and for those who are still unhoused.