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Promoting Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery in the Homeless Community of Halifax, Nova Scotia

Project Overview

This research will allow for an in-depth understanding of how the homeless population is faring and the core processes involved in supporting homeless populations during a pandemic while illuminating what has worked and what have been limitations. Exploring the processes through the eyes of all the major stakeholders will provide a comprehensive report that can serve as a reference to improve our current and future emergency response planning. Dr. Karabanow’s experience being part of such a process during COVID-19 has illuminated processes that worked well (for example the support from the NGOs to set up community pop up sites) and those that have been core challenges (e.g., finding staff for such models). This research has the potential to better understand how to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among this vulnerable population, and its adverse benefits, including physical health, mental health, overall well-being, and quality of life, through effective service delivery models and best practices. Our three main research outcomes are as follows: • To deeply understand the direct impacts on homeless populations during the pandemic; • To chart best practice models for support of homeless populations during disasters and post-disaster recovery processes; and • To enhance student training opportunities to engage in research and community action to build understanding regarding a highly marginalized population during and following a pandemic.

Study Design

Qualitative study

Project Keywords

COVID-19, Homeless community, community service agency, vulnerable population

Principal Investigator

Name: Jeff

Title: Professor

Department or Unit: School of Social Work

Organization: Dalhousie Unveristy

Co-Project Investigators

  • Name: Haorui
    Title: Assistant Professor
    Department or Unit: School of Social Work
    Organization: Dalhousie Unveristy
  • Name: Jean
    Title: Professor
    Department or Unit: School of Nursing
    Organization: Dalhousie Unveristy

Funding Source

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Engage Grants

Expected Study Timeline

October 1, 2020 -September 30, 2021

Study Design

Qualitative study

Primary Methods of Data Collection

Telephone interviews and focus groups

Unit of Analysis

individuals, organizations,

Study Population(s)

Homeless population

Sample Size


Geographic Focus Area(s)

Halifax, NS, Canada

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