Provider Perspectives: Understanding Support Barriers for LGBTQ People

Funder: Government of Canada Homelessness Partnering Strategy through Homeward Trust Edmonton’s Community Research Projects

This project explored the challenges and barriers that organizations, programs, and frontline social workers experience in providing culturally competent services to LGBTQ people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. While accounts of LGBTQ experiences and associated recommendations are growing, organizational practices and challenges adopting practices in line with recommendations are almost completely missing from the literature. Through interviews with frontline workers, this project identified key issues to address to undertake the structural changes that may be needed to adequately service LGBTQ individuals.

Key issues identified in the results of this project include a need for increased training and support for frontline workers, a reliance on self-disclosure and client-led identification of needs where inclusive policy and practice are not available, and a tendency for frontline workers to consult a single LGBTQ person (such as a friend or colleague) to inform their practices where formal learning opportunities or resources about the diverse LGBTQ identities and experiences do not seem as easily accessible. Many participants expressed a strong desire to better support LGBTQ clients but were unsure how to improve their own competence in this area.

Project Leads:

Cindy Boucher, PhD
Senior Research Advisor, Research Office
NorQuest College

Email:
cindy.boucher@norquest.ca