Extended stay motel residents, homelessness, poverty, self identity, social identity, social service providers
Motel life has existed in the United States for over 100 years. However, it was not until the HEARTH Act in 2009 changed the federal definition of homelessness that those who live in motels more or less permanently were considered homeless persons. This project utilizes qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 18 families with children who are living in motels to explore their experiences with motel life and social service providers, their housing identity, and identity management strategies. Findings show that most of the motel residents did not identify with the conventional definition or image of homelessness and instead negotiated the term to fit their situation. Although they did not initially self-identify as homeless, when discussing policy recommendations all participants adopted a homeless social-identity (i.e., they identified as members of the homeless social category). As members of the homeless community, the participants agreed that homeless families in the area needed more attention and assistance. Participants were aware that outsiders would view them as homeless and during their interviews several identity management strategies were used. Motel residents described a hierarchy of homelessness and placed themselves at the top of it, perceiving themselves to be better people than even other motel residents. The identity management strategies employed by the participants were meant to show how they were good people who were just stuck in a motel because of circumstances outside of their control and how they were deserving of assistance to help their families move out of the motel and obtain adequate, permanent housing.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Guittar Gonzalez, Stephanie, "This Is Just Temporary: A Study Of Extended-stay Motel Residents In Central Florida" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2285.