Yasemin Tekgürler (Davidson College), José Olvera (Davidson College), Arianna Montero-Colbert (Davidson College), and Erica Davis (JCSU)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Joseph Ewoodzie
This paper examines the ways in which homeless individuals use faith as a strategy to manage their homelessness, and the specifically self-driven management strategies to get out of the effects of homelessness. The literature on homelessness discusses a lot of the service-providers, the effects of homelessness like psychological and financial impacts, hopelessness, lack of motivation and more. While the management strategies mainly focus on the community-driven ones, such as the specific help people get from soup kitchens or other non-profits. This research is bridging the gap in literature that lacks detailed understanding of personal strategies taken by homeless individuals, and considers their agency as a part of the management. It builds upon existing narratives around religious music and stories of redemption, and aims to humanize these experiences. In order to do so, we have been conducting an ethnography at the Harvest Center in Charlotte, a faith-based institution that serves those in need, and collecting oral histories. The stories are provided here as examples of the self-driven management strategies and how faith plays a crucial role in overcoming homelessness.