The unique context of day-to-day living for people who are chronically homeless or living with housing insecurity puts them at high risk during community disasters. The impacts of extreme events, such as flooding, storms, riots, and other sources of community disruption, underscore the importance of preparedness efforts and fostering community resilience. This study is part of larger initiative focused on enhancing resilience and preparedness among high risk populations. The purpose of this study was to explore critical issues and strategies to promote resilience and disaster preparedness among people who are homeless in Canada. A sample of interviews (n=21) from key informants across Canada was analyzed to explore existing programs and supports for homeless populations. The data was selected from a larger sample of (n=43) interviews focused on programs and supports for people who are at heightened risk for negative impacts during disasters. Qualitative content analysis was used to extract emergent themes and develop a model of multi-level collaboration to support disaster resilience among people who are homeless. The results indicate there is a need for more upstream continuity planning, collaboration and communication between the emergency management sector and community service organizations that support people who are homeless. Prioritization and investment in the social determinants of health and community supports is necessary to promote resilience among this high-risk population. The findings from this study highlight the importance of acknowledging community support organizations as assets in disaster preparedness. Day-to-day resilience is an ongoing theme for people who are chronically homeless or living with housing insecurity. Upstream investment to build adaptive capacity and collaborate with community organizations is an important strategy to enhance community resilience.
Introduction: An earlier descriptive study exploring the various supports available to Canadian health and social service providers who deployed to the 2010 earthquake disaster in Haiti, indicated that when systems are compromised, professionals are at physical, emotional and mental risk during overseas deployment. While these risks are generally well-identified, there is little literature that explores the effectiveness of the supports in place to mitigate this risk. This study provides evidence to inform policy development regarding future disaster relief, and the effectiveness of supports available to responders assisting with international disaster response.
Methods: This study follows Strauss and Corbin’s 1990 structured approach to grounded theory to develop a framework for effective disaster support systems. N=21 interviews with Canadian health and social service providers, who deployed to Haiti in response to the 2010 earthquake, were conducted and analyzed. Resulting data were transcribed, coded and analysed for emergent themes.
Results and Discussion: Three themes were identified in the data and were used to develop the evolving theory. The interview data indicate that the experiences of responders are determined based on an interaction between the individual’s ‘lens’ or personal expectations, as well as the supports that an organization is able to provide. Therefore, organizations should consider the following factors: experience, expectations, and supports, to tailor a successful support initiative that caters to the needs of the volunteer workforce.
Introduction: Resilience has been described in many ways and is inherently complex. In essence, it refers to the capacity to face and do well when adversity is encountered. There is a need for empirical research on community level initiatives designed to enhance resilience for high-risk groups as part of an upstream approach to disaster management. In this study, we address this issue, presenting the EnRiCH Community Resilience Framework for High-Risk Populations.
Methods: The framework presented in this paper is empirically-based, using qualitative data from focus groups conducted as part of an asset-mapping intervention in five communities in Canada, and builds on extant literature in the fields of disaster and emergency management, health promotion, and community development.
Results: Adaptive capacity is placed at the centre of the framework as a focal point, surrounded by four strategic areas for intervention (awareness/communication, asset/resource management, upstream-oriented leadership, and connectedness/engagement). Three drivers of adaptive capacity (empowerment, innovation, and collaboration) cross-cut the strategic areas and represent levers for action which can influence systems, people and institutions through expansion of asset literacy. Each component of the framework is embedded within the complexity and culture of a community.
Discussion: We present recommendations for how this framework can be used to guide the design of future resilience-oriented initiatives with particular emphasis on inclusive engagement across a range of functional capabilities.
In January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The massive disaster made it difficult for local Haitian community officials to respond immediately, leaving the country reliant on foreign aid and international and non-governmental relief organizations. This study explores the effectiveness of various supports that were made available to health and social service providers in Haiti, by focusing on their lived experiences pre-deployment, on-site and post-deployment. The paper provides a qualitative exploration of participant perceptions with respect to the success of their performance in response, and relevant literature describing the various supports provided to health and social service providers responding to disasters. Methods: A single, semi-structured interview was conducted with Canadian health professionals (n=21) who deployed to Haiti during the time of, or after, the 2010 earthquake. The study uses Strauss and Corbin’s structured approach to grounded theory to identify main themes and relationships in the interviews. Results: The interviews indicate that training, and psychological and emotional supports for health and social service providers require improvement to enhance the experience and effectiveness of their work. Conclusions: Findings indicate that supports are most effective when they are tailored to the volunteers. The paper highlights future research stemming from the grounded theory findings.