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Faith Eboff

Faith Eboff’s honours research found that homeless individuals can maintain long-term housing and live independently when given support.

A passion for housing the homeless

October 8, 2009

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Faith Eiboff will be watching Vancouver’s plans to address homelessness over the next few years more closely than most.

Eiboff is the Faculty of Health Science’s first student to graduate with an honours degree. Her studies focus on housing- and homelessness-related issues, including a pair of continuing research projects for the local non-profit organization Women in Search of Housing Society (WISHS).

"I’m collecting the stories of women living in WISHS housing to highlight the social impact of safe, affordable housing in mature women’s lives, and showcase a best practice in housing to support future developments," she says. "It’s particularly important in response to the growing vulnerability of mature, single women who may be at risk of homelessness due to lack of support, the high cost of housing and/or inadequate incomes."

Another project entitled Women and Enterprise is exploring options for women to increase their incomes by direct involvement in housing development and housing-related business.

Eiboff’s honors thesis investigated the housing- and health-related impacts of supported housing interventions for homeless individuals with mental illness, with or without co-occurring substance use conditions.

She applied the findings to a review of current homelessness plans and initiatives in Vancouver to see if the local response to the homelessness crisis is consistent with current evidence.

She found that individuals are able to maintain long-term housing and live independently in the community when given a variety of housing and support options. "While local efforts attempt to meet the multiple needs of the homeless, the scaling-up of resources and further service coordination is necessary to achieve a greater impact," says Eiboff, pointing to the need for a comprehensive provincial homeless strategy.

Now enrolled in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program at SFU, Eiboff hopes to continue with research to inform the future direction of housing policy and program development and help prevent the occurrence of homelessness.

"I want to contribute to the development of effective strategies to better serve the housing needs of the more vulnerable and marginalized populations of society," adds Eiboff, "including women, single-parent families, the homeless and those with mental illness and addictions."

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